Pixel and/or iPhone eSIM help?

I'm a fan of dual-SIM dual-standby phones, where I can set one SIM for voice/text, and the other SIM for data, and reassign as needed.

I've been intrigued by comments about Dent or other eSIM data-only services, since it would work pretty well for my limited data needs. I don't have a phone with eSIM, and my budget isn't likely to stretch further than a Pixel or iPhone SE2. (And that only with a good discount, or used.)

I'm wondering if any Pixel or iPhone SE owners are aware if this will work? My ideal is to use something like FreeUP or Tracfone on the physical SIM for voice/text, but have a data plan on the eSIM side.

My Nokia 3.1 and Asus Zenfone handle this invisibly, and reliably with 2 physical SIMs.

I picked up a pixel 4a 5G with esim for a good price around black friday (after trade in and fi discount) and I plan to try this out when my current plan expires in January. I picked up one of tracfone 1 year plans for $20 and am a looking to supplement with Dent (which appears to be best for my needs as the data is good for 1 year). I had contemplated pairing it with textnow, but don't want to use textnow for my primary number. Prior the tracfone deal, i was going to look at the $5 hello mobile plan or the red pocket ebay plan for $2.50 month. Those two plans have enough text and also comes with some data. What I'm unsure about is MMS. I assume I need data to receive MMS, but maybe I'm wrong on that. I've always needed data in the past, even with a wifi connection to get MMS (currently have a essential PH-1).

It should work. I've used data only eSIMs purchased via Airalo on both Pixels and iPhones. A note on Pixels; while the Pixel 2 and 2 XL have eSIM they're not dual SIM dual standby phones. The eSIM in a Pixel 2 and 2 XL is supported for use with Google Fi only and though a physical SIM may be simultaneously resident, it's an either or choice of the eSIM or the physical SIM being active. I think the Pixel 3's and 3 XL's eSIM supports providers other than Fi but they are also not dual standby phones. For dual SIM dual standby on a Pixel, one needs a Pixel 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 4 XL or 5. If using dual SIMs on a Pixel 4a 5G or 5, one is limited to 4G LTE. Google will apparently eventually release a software update enabling 5G when using dual SIM on the 4a 5G and 5.

To the best of my knowledge all iPhones that support eSIM are dual SIM dual standby.

As a side benefit, in my experience, both DSDS Pixels and iPhones are capable of using the data only eSIM for "WiFi' calling.

This is pretty much what I'm looking at, too.
One possible catch with Hello Mobile, or other T-Mobile provider. T-Mobile wants to default to VoLTE for voice. Setting up a dual-SIM application with data on the E-SIM (via LTE) will likely prevent the physical SIM from accessing LTE for VoLTE. Paring with an AT&T SIM for voice seems better, since (for now) AT&T uses 3G for voice.

For a while, I had FreeUP and Simple Mobile on 2 physical SIMs. Lots of flexibility there, since I could receive calls on either native number, or my Google Voice number. (3G/FreeUP/AT&T on one SIM, LTE/T-Mobile/VoLTE on the 2nd SIM.)

re: MMS. Good point, and I don't remember playing with that. I use Google Voice for SMS/MMS, and that worked fine with LTE data from the 2nd SIM.

Thanks, rolandh! The details about dual-SIM implementation on earlier pixels will be realy helpful if I shop for a used one!

Yes should work as others have said.

Usually you just set which sim is for what so your esim for data and your talk/text for the main sim. Mms and volte etc should work as normal. If I get a chance ill test it.

Cheapest out there would be the pixel 3a. You can get used ones off amazon for $160-170 via amazon warehouse which should qualify for the $100 tracfone rebate.

Most compatible would be the iphone se 2020. Pretty much every esim will work on iphones but not every one will be available on android. Dent is on both so you will be fine if you want dent.Iphones even let you do wifi calling using the data sim as the "wifi" which is a nifty trick.

I assume the physical sim still has to have data as part of the plan in order to send/receive MMS. In other words, a talk/text only plan with no data would not receive/send MMS, even with a esim for data?

My pixel 3a has a setting that reads something like send/recieve mms without data active.

I would test it but my dent esim is acting up. Not really useful if it doesn't start up properly as and when you want to use it.

How has your experience been with Dent? Are there frequent issues or is this the first one you have experienced?

It took a little of coaxing with a restart and a bit of patience but it worked after that.

No you can't mms using the 2nd line for data on android (tested on pixel 3a). It needs the primary sim data connection. I think you could do it with iphones as mentioned earlier you can piggyback off the data connection to wifi call/text/mms

First real issue but I havent really used it much. When you first activate it takes a while. You might think isn't working but you just need to be patient. Other than that the main drawback is the very high pings and jitter. Like 200-300ms pings. Fine for general browsing, email etc. though. 365 day validity for the data is a big draw.

I updated the dent app too that might have been the problem.

Hope you managed to get yourself a nice esim phone. Just finished processing mine got a like new pixel 3a for $75 net of gift card and another $20 for the plan. I paid a little extra for the plan to get something that will last over 60 days so I can get the referral points on tracfone - which are worth more than $20.

Nice! I didn't get an eSIM phone yet. I checked your advice on a refurbished Amazon Warehouse Pixel, but at the time the prices were quite a bit higher than what you managed. I was also a little worried about the battery condition, which is specified as at least 80% of original. Seems battery life is one of the few complaints about the Pixels even when new. If you get a strong one, probably not an issue.

Honestly, it's only something I 'want' at this point, not something I need-- and I need to keep reminding myself of that difference now. I love the idea of something like Dent on eSIM, and it fits my historical data usage really well. But a typical Covid month keeps me under 100mb, and I already have options that can provide that, and I have a decent dual SIM phone (physical SIMs.).

My cheapskate alternatives for dual-SIM data without eSim:
Freedompop LTE (old style) with 200mb. (free)
A Tracfone annual bundle with data add-ons from the rewards program could give me 600-700 mb/mo on average, with rollover. (under $3/mo)
A Tello line, after it converts to GSM, $5-6/mo for 500mb/1gb a month, plus rollover to build a cushion if I don't forget to renew early.
Pair any of these with my FreeUP line, and I'm looking OK. With Tello GSM, I'd have the option of a second carrier in case of poor AT&T coverage.
(The MMS issue discussed above doesn't really affect me much, since I use Google Voice for my outward facing number, and the GV app for messaging. That route doesn't care about the source of data for MMS.)