What is an eSIM?
eSIM or Embedded SIM, formally known as embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC), is a small microchip at 6 mm in length and 5 mm in width and is attached to a device’s motherboard at the manufacturing stage which serves the same functionality as a removable SIM card.
eSIM is basically a small chip inside your mobile device and works in a similar way to the NFC chip inside your phone.
Remote Provisioning features within the eSIM provide an enhanced customer user experience when managing and activating mobile devices. Through the phone settings, users can select their preferred mobile operator and what kind of plan they want.
It has the capability to use M2M (Machine to Machine) and Remote Provisioning features. It is a GSMA standard, and soon eSIM will be the standard in major mobile devices from top companies like Apple and Samsung followed by other manufacturers.
Last year’s 2017 Mobile World Congress, Thomas Henze the program director of eSIM, demonstrated activating his phone via scanning a QR Code which represents a physical letter from a telecommunication operator. Also, a scenario was shown where via a Universal Activation Code, again used by scanning, a user can activate as many phones as we wanted.
The data on an eSIM is renewable, which means you can decide to change the telecom operator with a simple phone call or scanning a QR code. They’re really easy to add to a data plan, connecting devices with eSIMs to a mobile account can be done in minutes.
Note that there is also a physical SIM slot in the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max – the eSIM inside these handsets is used for the secondary SIM support.
eSIM is backed by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association), the association of mobile networks. The GSMA has defined the standard for eSIM worldwide.
It is also discussed that the eSIM should ensure future devices are cheaper to produce.
ESIM IS THE FUTURE
The eSIM is the future, Apple already rolled out iPhones with eSIM support (iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max). As we all know iPhone sets the standard in mobile technology. Last year they released the iPhone X introducing the “notch” then after other mobile manufacturers followed. Most notably by this year’s Google Pixel 3 & Google Pixel 3 XL.
It’s been estimated that within the next few years the Internet of Things devices will become the largest connect category, overtaking mobile phones.
The eSIM not only helps these connected devices work but also enables new categories of devices with less compromise. Automotive makers, with the inclusion of an eSIM, allows us to quickly connect our cars to cellular.
Laptops will benefit from the inclusion of the eSIM while providing brands and resellers the opportunity to up-sell/cross-sell through the use of flexible data bundles.
What is certain though, given the time it will take manufacturers to include eSIM as standard, operator adoption and the lifecycle of current devices, it won’t take another 10-15 years before we’ll see the physical SIM card consigned to history once and for all.
Related: How eSIM Works?
Watch out and stay tuned!
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