The mobile world is talking about eSIM, but what is it and why is everyone talking about it? Now, eSIM isn’t new news, but during the recent Apple event on September 12th 2018, it received some serious record-breaking traffic.
Although most of the engagement was based around the 3 new iPhones and the new Apple Watch, what got people talking was eSIM, an embedded SIM within the new phones, and watch (more on that later), that could potentially remove the need for a physical SIM Card.
What is eSIM?
eSIM is a GSMA global specification and stands for ‘Embedded Subscriber Identify Module’. It allows people to store multiple network carriers onto their phones simultaneously, such as a Dual-SIM phone would, all without even using a physical SIM card! The eSIM module will be built onto the motherboard of a device and can be connected to multiple phone networks through software.
The eSIM was seen in the Google Pixel 2 devices, the recent iPad Pros, the Series 3 Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear S2 watch, but that was notably it.
The importance of Apple
With apple adopting eSIM onto their next line of devices, other technology giants will follow suit and there will be an eSIM revolution.
What’s more is that Apple played it safe on their new handsets, by adding eSIM technology without removing the ability to use the traditional physical SIM. This will allow the new handsets to essentially be ‘Dual’-SIM devices, with a physical SIM and an embedded SIM.
However, note that the new iPhone XS Max in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau actually features true Dual-SIM with two nano-SIM card slots, but will not support eSIM, whereas, the iPhone XS in those areas will have 1 nano-SIM slot and eSIM support like the rest of the world.
This method of a physical SIM with an embedded eSIM will most likely be replicated by newer devices from other phone manufacturers for a couple years until eSIM becomes the norm, then we will see the complete removal of the physical SIM on most modern smartphone devices.
Why care about eSIM?
- The majority of people are able to take advantage of having more than one phone network on their phones, allowing them to truly separate their personal life and their work life on one device with ease, without having to purchase a dedicated Dual-SIM phone.
- Although only supported in 10 countries right now, in the future, eSIM could pave the way for international phones that can support phone signals worldwide.
- With the upcoming growth of eSIM, manufacturers will push for laptops that are always connected to the internet to provide an insane mobile working solution.
- With the removal of physical SIM cards, phone manufacturers are able to strip down phones to become even thinner, or, use up more space than they could before to increase battery life, or increase cooling to allow for more powerful CPU’s, GPU’s and more.
- Additionally, manufacturers are able to add eSIM technology to other devices, like watches as seen by Apple and Samsung, to allow for true 24/7 connectivity to the internet. We could see connected devices that we thought could only be possible in the future.
If you want even more information on how eSIM works, check out this whitepaper by the GSMA.
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