How Much Does It Cost to Build an eSIM App like Airalo and Holafly?

Dileep Gupta March 27, 2024
airalo app development cost

In today’s net-savvy world, where seamless global communication is non-negotiable, eSIM (embedded SIM) apps have emerged as the game-changers, revolutionizing how we connect and communicate, particularly in the realm of international travel. These applications promise travelers an unprecedented level of flexibility and convenience, making international adventures smoother and more enjoyable.

An eSIM operates as a digital SIM card embedded into a device, providing greater convenience, security, and sustainability advantages when compared to traditional physical SIM cards. While the adoption of eSIMs is widespread in smartphones, their utility extends to various Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including connected cars, drones, and smartwatches.

According to Statista, the global eSIM market is poised for significant expansion, especially with the proliferation of Internet of Things devices. Valued at $4.7 billion in 2023, the eSIM market is expected to surge to $16.3 billion by 2027.

Global eSIM Market Size

Have you ever wondered, “How much does it cost to build an eSIM app for international travel?” like the one you have used when jet-setting with Airalo or Holafly? While there is no one-size-fits-all formula to quote Holafly and Airalo app development cost, on average, it costs around $30,000 to $300,000 or more, depending on your various factors (details later).

Let’s delve deep into the intricacies of eSIM app development, where we will explore the critical factors that contribute to an app like Airalo development cost and uncover the essential features that make such apps secure their permanent place on the users’ devices. Also, we will discover the pivotal role these apps (Airalo and Holafly) play in reshaping the landscape of international connectivity.

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What Makes Airalo and Holafly Stand Out in the eSIM Market

Airalo and Holafly, two of the most popular eSIM apps, redefine how we stay connected across borders. These innovative eSIM apps have simplified the international travel experience, allowing users to seamlessly switch between carriers and activate data plans without needing physical SIM cards. Their user-friendly interfaces and commitment to user satisfaction make them indispensable tools for modern travelers.

Here are some core benefits of Airalo and Holafly applications:

Global ConnectivitySwitch between carriers worldwide without changing physical SIM cards.Access data plans tailored to specific destinations, ensuring localized service during international travel.
User-Friendly InterfaceIntuitive app design for easy navigation and activation of eSIM profiles.A streamlined interface, making it simple for users to activate and manage their eSIM services.
Business-Friendly SolutionsIdeal for both leisure and business travelers, providing reliable connectivity for remote teams.Addresses the connectivity needs of businesses, offering efficient solutions for global communication.
Data Plan FlexibilityTheir eSIM card allows users to recharge the eSIM and share data with other devices, depending on their preferencesIt provides unlimited data for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, and 90-day options, ensuring flexibility based on user preferences and travel requirements.
Security ProtocolsImplements robust security measures to protect sensitive user data and ensure a secure eSIM experience.Prioritizes user data security, employing encryption and secure data storage to safeguard personal information.
Multi-Device SupportSupports the management of eSIM services for multiple devices, enhancing user convenience.Enables users to manage eSIM connectivity for various devices through a user-friendly interface.
Nation SupportThey have eSIM plans for 200+ countries.Holafly’s eSIM plans in 160+ destinations worldwide.

What’s more? These apps don’t just offer user-friendly features for global connectivity but also provide a blueprint for businesses looking to build their own eSIM apps. By crafting an app similar to Airalo and Holafly, businesses can enhance user and customer experiences, streamline international operations, and distinguish their brand in a competitive market.

According to a Techcrunch report, Airalo eSIM app has recently bagged $60 million in a series B funding round, while the total seed funding bagged by Holafly now sums up to $189K. Simply put, the adaptability, user-centric design, and forward-thinking innovation backed by strategic investment and market confidence showcased by these masters of global connectivity present a compelling example for companies considering to venture into the world of eSIM app development.

How to activate an eSIM

Holafly and Airalo App Development Cost and Considerable Factors

Developing an eSIM app like Airalo and Holafly is a challenging endeavor that involves a multifaceted process. The process is influenced by several factors that collective­ly contribute to the­ overall cost of developing an eSIM application. While the average cost to build an eSIM app like Holafly or Airalo ranges between $30,000 to $300,000, it is essential to unravel the intricate layers of factors that define the actual estimation of investment. Let’s delve into the key factors that influence the cost of app development:

Factors Affecting eSIM App Development Cost

Technical Architecture and Development

The core of any eSIM app lies in its technical architecture. Building a robust system that can integrate with diverse mobile networks, manage eSIM profiles, and ensure security requires skilled development, contributing to Holafly and Airalo app development costs.

UI/UX Design

Crafting an intuitive and visually appealing UI/UX design is essential for the success of any application. An intuitive user interface designed for accessibility and easy navigation ensures a seamless user experience, affecting the overall cost to develop an eSIM app.

Regulatory Compliance

Navigating the intricacy of industry regulations, compliance, and law is an integral aspect of ensuring the app’s usability across different regions. Thus, ensuring that the Airalo or Holafly eSIM app adheres to diverse regulatory compliance like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and telecommunications standards etc., adds to the overall Holafly and Airalo app development cost.

Security Measures

Given the sensitive nature of personal and travel-related data involved in making an eSIM app like Airalo or Holafly, security is a crucial consideration when making an eSIM app like Airalo or Holafly. Implementing robust security features like encryption, biometrics, secure data storage, multi-factor authentication, etc., are the vital components that protect the app against unauthorized access and cyber threats. Thus, adding these essential security features enhances both development time and associated costs.

Location of the Hired App Development Team

The on-demand app development company you partner with to make an eSIM app like Airalo or Holafly also influences the development cost. The cost can vary based on the company’s geographical location, skill, and tech expertise. For instance, Airalo app developers in the US often charge higher than those in Asia or India.

Estimated Hourly Development Rates in Multiple Regions Across the Globe:

RegionHourly Rate of Development
Western Europe$80-$90
Eastern Europe$50-$55

Features and Tech Stack

It is one of the most significant factors influencing an app like Airalo development cost. Adding features like AI chatbots, predictive analysis, payment gateways, over-the-air updates for eSIM profiles, and other specific functionalities requires additional development effort and, consequently, enhances the eSIM app development cost. Also, the choice of tech stack your eSIM app developers use to make the applications affects the Holafly and Airalo app development cost

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Essential Features to Add to an eSIM like Airalo and Holafly

To make an eSIM app like Airalo or Holafly, it is imperative to incorporate key features that provide seamless functionality and user-friendly experiences. Here, we have outlined the must-have features that enhance the performance and user-friendliness of an eSIM application.

Key Features of Airalo and Holafly eSIM Apps

Multi-Device Compatibility

Multi-device support is an integral feature of Airalo and Holafly eSIM that enables users to manage eSIM services across various devices through a unified interface. This feature enhances user convenience, particularly for those with multiple connected devices, providing a seamless and integrated experience across all gadgets.

Customer Support

Offering responsive and 24/7 customer support within the app is a critical feature of Holafly and Airalo app development. This feature ensures that users can easily get expert assistance, receive timely responses to queries, and troubleshoot issues, contributing to an enhanced customer experience.

Global Connectivity

This is one of the most essential features of Holafly and Airalo app development, facilitating users to switch between different mobile carriers on a global scale conveniently. It ensures uninterrupted connectivity and coverage as users travel across various regions, providing a hassle-free experience and making the app indispensable for international travelers.

For instance, with plans in 160+ nations, Holafly keeps its users connected no matter where they are, from Europe to Malaysia and everywhere in between.

User interface of Holafly eSIM app

Flexible Data Plans

Offering flexible data plans is a key aspect of an eSIM app, allowing users to choose their data plans based on their personal preferences, travel requirements, and specific data usage needs. This feature ensures that users have various options, promoting cost-effectiveness and enhancing user experience.

Local Phone Calls

Enhance the app’s utility by incorporating the feature of making local phone calls. This allows users to make and receive calls using local numbers, offering a seamless communication experience while maintaining cost-effectiveness.

For instance, Holafly’s 60 minutes of free calls to Europe is an extremely valuable feature for reserving rental cars or booking restaurants.

Rewards and Cashback

Introducing a rewards system within the app is an extremely useful feature, encouraging user engagement and loyalty. Users can earn rewards and cashbacks for activities such as frequent app usage or achieving certain milestones. This feature adds a gamified element, creating a positive user experience and fostering brand loyalty.

For example, Airalo introduces a loyalty program to reward users for sticking with the app longer. The brand categorizes its travelers into four levels – Traveler, Silver Traveler, Gold Traveler, and Platinum Traveler based on their app usage and accordingly offers them lucrative cashback to be used for the next eSIM purchase.

Offline Mode

You can ensure uninterrupted connectivity by integrating an offline mode into your eSIM application. It is one of the most important Airalo eSIM app features, allowing users to access essential functionalities, such as viewing eSIM profiles, reading instructions, and managing settings.

Imagine your users have installed an eSIM and reached their destination but don’t remember the steps to activate your eSIM line. In such a situation, the offline mode feature seems highly valuable, enhancing user satisfaction and uninterrupted app experience.

Data Monitoring and Notification

This feature empowers users to monitor their data usage, receive push notifications, and manage their plans accordingly. It helps users prevent unexpected overages, giving them greater control over their data consumption and contributing to a transparent, user-centric experience.

Holafly and Airalo App Development Process

The number of countries and operators supporting eSIM is growing rapidly, contributing to the exponential growth of the eSIM market, growing at an estimated CAGR of 10.2 % from 2022 to 2030.

The Number of Countries and Operators Support eSIM

Witnessing the growing support for the eSIM trend, companies are increasingly turning to building an eSIM app for their businesses. However, making an eSIM app like Airalo and Holafly is quite a complex and challenging task, requiring the expertise of a top app development company (like Appinventiv) that has a proven track record of delivering similar projects.

The Holafly and Airalo eSIM app development process is quite similar to building any other mobile app. Let us look at the process in detail below.

Conceptualization and Market Analysis

At this stage, the hired app development team will finalize the eSIM app’s essential functions, delve into target market research, and analyze competitors to lay out a distinct market niche.

Design and UX Strategy

During this stage, the UI/UX designers will craft a user-centric design, employing wireframes, prototypes, and user journey maps to achieve an engaging and navigable app interface.

Technical Specification and Platform Selection

In this step, the technical framework is established, including tech stack selection and platform choices (iOS, Android, or cross-platform) tailored to the app’s goals and audience.

Compliance, Privacy, and Security Planning

Being one of the most vital phases for a robust eSIM app development process, this part emphasizes ensuring the app meets global regulations like GDPR and CCPA and integrates top-notch security to safeguard user information.

App Development and Iteration

During this stage, the coding process starts. The developers adopt an iterative agile approach to refine features, address bugs, and incorporate feedback, ensuring a dynamic development process.

Quality Assurance and Rigorous Testing

After the development phase, the app is put through rigorous testing to ensure seamless functionality, user experience, performance, and security. This phase guarantees that the app upholds the highest quality standards.

App Deployment

In this phase, the app is prepared for launch by finalizing deployment specifics, optimizing for app stores, and crafting marketing strategies to ensure a successful market entry.

Post-Launch Maintenance and Updates

In this phase, the focus is on continuous monitoring and regular updates to enhance the app, including introducing new features, responding to user feedback, and adapting to technological advancements.

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How Can Businesses Generate Revenue with eSIM Apps Like Airalo and Holafly?

Exploring revenue models is crucial for businesses diving into the eSIM app market. Here are the multiple ways with which businesses can earn maximum revenue with eSIM apps:

Multiple Monetization Strategies for eSIM Apps

Direct Sales Model

Businesses can generate revenue from eSIM apps by implementing a direct sales model, offering travelers and users region-specific data plans directly through the app, eliminating the need for physical SIM cards.

Subscription Model

By adopting a subscription model, businesses can allow users with continuous access to data plans, securing a stable income stream and fostering a strong customer base.

Tiered Pricing Model

Through a tiered pricing strategy, companies can cater to various user needs by offering different levels of data plans based on usage and coverage, potentially boosting sales.

Roaming Agreements and Wholesale Purchases

By negotiating roaming agreements and making wholesale purchases, businesses can acquire data at lower rates from network operators worldwide and resell it to their users, enhancing profit margins.

Bring Your eSIM App Idea to Life with Appinventiv

As the landscape of global connectivity evolves, the rise of eSIM technology stands at the forefront of innovation, offering both convenience and a sustainable solution in the face of the current energy crisis and increasing environmental concerns. Accordingly, both network operators and service providers are increasingly embracing eSIM technology as a greener alternative to traditional SIM cards.

So, if at any point in time, you have considered entering the growing eSIM market and contributing to the green revolution, now is the right time. Partner with Appinventiv to transform your vision into life. With a team of 1500+ tech experts and a proven record of delivering 3000+ successful projects for many reputed brands like Adidas, 6th Street, KFC, EdFundo, etc., we can be your trusted app development partner.

Our experience in crafting intuitive UI/UX, implementing security measures, adhering to compliances, and using cutting-edge technologies positions us as a reliable on-demand app development company for businesses aiming to make an eSIM app like Airalo and Holafly.

Ready to embark on your eSIM journey? Let’s start the venture by getting a free quote for Holafly and Airalo app development costs.


Q. How long does it take to develop apps like Airalo and Holafly?

A. The timeline for developing an app like Airalo or Holafly can vary based on several factors, including the expertise of eSIM app developers, the complexity of UI/UX design, integration with carrier services, security considerations, and so on.

Typically, for a comprehensive eSIM app with features similar to Airalo and Holafly, the development time may go from 4 months to 1 year or more, depending on your specific project requirements. To get a more accurate estimate, partner with an experienced app development company.

Q. How much does an eSIM app development cost?

A. The cost of developing an eSIM app varies significantly based on several factors. Key considerations include the complexity of the app, the desired features, the level of security required, and the geographical location of the development team.

On average, an app like Airalo development cost can range from $30,000 to $300,000 or more, depending on your specific project requirements. Discuss your project idea with us to get a detailed quotation for cost and timeline.

Q. How does the Airalo eSIM app work?

A. The easy installation and activation process of the Airalo eSIM app makes it highly user-friendly, enhancing the app usage and experience. Here is a step-by-step explanation of how the Airalo eSIM app works:

Download and Install: Start by downloading and installing the Airalo app from the respective app store on your eSIM-compatible device.

Create an Account: Sign up for an account within the app and provide the necessary details for successful registration.

Select and Purchase a Plan: Explore the variety of eSIM data plans offered by Airalo and buy one that suits your travel needs. You will receive a QR code representing your eSIM profile.

Activate eSIM: Access your device’s settings and select the option to add an eSIM. Scan a QR code Airalo sends you to start the installation process.

Enjoy Global Connectivity: Once activated, the device is equipped with Airalo’s eSIM, allowing users to switch between carriers and access data plans as they travel globally.

Dileep Gupta
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