The SIM card has dominated mobile connectivity for over 25 years now. Except for modifications to the size of the card, the technology behind SIM cards has remained the same. However, every other technology in the world has upgraded and evolved exponentially during the same period.
This paradigm shift has resulted in SIM cards making connections with service providers challenging to meet the users’ unique demands. For instance, the card needs to be physically present to connect, which is very restricting in today’s remote and over the air updates environments. In addition, SIM cards can also easily be damaged or lost.
Only recently has SIM card technology seen a significant upgrade in the form of eSIM cards. This revolutionary technology has taken the smartphone industry by storm, with stellar improvements from eSIM card providers.
The ‘e’ in eSIM means embedded, and rightly so. An eSIM is not a separate card, rather a chipset that is embedded in the product itself. This has been regulated by the international association of businesses related to cell network operations called the GSMA. While the eSIM is a chip, it functions as a temporary storage platform today. It is easily reprogrammable, and the service can be provisioned OTA (over-the-air) without physically modifying the card.
Advantages of eSIM Cards
Maintain more than one phone number
Till now, the way to use multiple phone numbers simultaneously was through dual SIM-enabled devices. However, eSIM enables users to have multiple phone numbers with a single chip. For instance, IoS devices allow the use of only one physical SIM card. In such a scenario, your users can use the eSIM as a second number. Since most smartphones sport this feature along with a standard SIM card slot, it makes it easier for users to maintain multiple numbers. These factors enable greater personalization of connectivity across devices.
A standard SIM card needs to be physically inserted into a mobile device for activation. This requires steadiness and care to ensure the right card size, slot etc. On the other hand, the users only need to scan a QR code to register the eSIM network profile with the mobile network. You can activate the connection remotely without and provide a frictionless experience to your users.
Easily change service providers
An eSIM technology-enabled device lets the users switch networks on the go whenever you want. If a user wanted to do the same with a physical SIM, they would have had to get a new card. In this way, eSIMs consumers don’t need to wait too long for switching between networks. In addition, they can remotely decide on an eSIM provider and network, activate the network profile in the device and thus get the information needed to connect online.
No need to disable accounts permanently
A single eSIM chip can store many different profiles. This means the users can switch temporarily between networks and then switch back without deleting or disabling their account with the network provider permanently. This feature of eSIM cards comes in handy when a user travels because it allows them to connect to any available network. It gives them a more cost-effective option besides activating roaming and incurring high charges.
eSIMs take up less space
Most of the modern smartphones today are compatible with nano-SIM cards. These cards are the smallest of all their predecessors, measuring about 8.8mm. The standard eSIM chip measures a mere 4.4mm. In addition, it cuts down on the cost of manufacturing physical SIM cards and minimises manual intervention from local telecom shops. It also enhances security.
Are There Disadvantages of eSIMs?
Like every other technology, eSIM has one potential disadvantage too. However, since it is still in its early stages, we might see a fix by the time the technology becomes mainstream.
Difficult to switch devices
If your current mobile handset stops working, you can easily remove the SIM card and add it to a new device without losing any data or information. This won’t be easy to do with an eSIM chip. Since over the air updates expedite the activation and deactivation process, these problems are not significant. In fact, eSIM technology keeps your data safe and secure in the cloud, which makes activation and deactivation a seamless process.
Can All Smartphones Use eSIM today?
Most eSIM providers have launched their eSIM offerings to the public. However, not all devices are compatible with this technology today. Only a few devices are eSIM-compatible today, which are:
- Apple IoS devices, including the Apple Watch Series 3 to 5.
- Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Ultra and S20+, including Samsung Gear S2 and S3 smartwatches.
- Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL.