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Do Smartwatches Need Data Plans?

A gorgeous young lady in blue so some setting on her nice smartwatch

Smartwatches are used by millions of active folks nowadays and there are several reasons why--in general terms, they simply make your life easier and bring you in touch with others through technology, just like a smartphone.

Many people actually wonder if smartwatches need data plans and if they have to pay for a separate data plan to use data in their smartwatch.


So, do smartwatches need data plans?

Well, not necessarily but it depends on the phone and the capabilities you wish to gain from your smartwatch. Most basic smartwatches do not require separate data plans to function as they are a mere extension of your phone connected via Bluetooth and a respective app on your smartphone. The data used in such models is synchronized with the respective app on your smartphone (iOS or Android) and uses the data plan of your smartphone device to exchange data between the two devices. So, don’t worry, they won’t need or eat your data plan and you’ll have to pay extra as they use the existing data from your smartphone device.

However, there are stand-alone models with sim card/s, GPS and 4G cellular capabilities that can be used separately from your phone or to replace your phone.  These models therefore, do require data plans as it is like getting a new mobile device.  But, the good news is that these models have Bluetooth and wi-fi capabilities as well, allowing you to connect with your nearby smartphone device without needing a separate data plan.


eSIM cards on smartwatches: what’s their purpose?

Many folks are also wondering how eSIM cards work in smartwatches and if they are extra charges on top of your mobile data plan. eSIM cards are basically the smallest (currently) removable sim cards installed on models that have an eSIM slot.  These are basically an extension of the regular sim card you have in your smartphone. They have a code known as “ICCID” (usually 16 digits) which acts as an identifier and connects to your smartphone to enable the exchange of cellular data.

Now, in terms of charges, mobile data providers do charge extra fees for having and using an eSIM in your smartwatch but the exact extra charges vary from provider to provider.

The eSIM technology was first launched in the smartwatch market by Apple, however, there are other lesser-known brands that feature eSIM technology for less.

There are also models with a prepaid 2G or 3G card that are aimed at children, enabling their parents to communicate with their children through their smartwatches and not end up with extra unexpected charges afterwards.


How Much Data Do Smartwatches Consume?

One thing that we know for sure is that even in case the same watch does consume separate data plans; they are not as much or high in fees as their smartphone counterparts. But some advanced SIM and GPS models may enable the streaming of applications and multimedia e.g., video streams (YouTube, Spotify) that require large transfers of data and may consume your data plan faster. Thus, the answer to this question depends on what model you use, the apps that you use, and of course your data plan carrier.


Overview: Should I Get A Smartwach With A Data Plan?

Again, it depends on how you intend to use your smartwatch and what your needs are. If you are satisfied with basic features and wish to use your smartwatch as a mere extension of your smartphone, then you do need to buy an advanced smartwatch model with a separate data plan. However, if you are a person who doesn’t always have their phone around or you wish to fully replace it as you are always on the go, getting a smartwatch with a data plan will be a huge convenience.

There are not many smartwatch models that offer data plans currently but we expect more options with data plans to launch in the next few years.

If you wish to get a smartwatch with a SIM card capability like the ones we offer in our store, you have to activate a separate data plan first from your cellular network provider. But it won’t cost you much more as most carries have special packs and discounts when ordering multiple data plans.