Do you know what exactly is eSIM? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Will eSIM replace physical SIM completely? To answer all these let us dive deep into the topic.
The eSIM (or embedded SIM) isn’t exactly a new technology and has been around for years now. But it is quickly becoming mainstream.
India has also got its first eSIM which will help simplify international travel.
As per the reports, Sensorise, an M2M service provider, has introduced India’s first-ever consumer travel eSIM, offering worldwide connectivity. Designed to cater to leisure travelers, corporate travelers, and students, this eSIM presents an affordable substitute for conventional international roaming telecom solutions.
What is eSIM?
eSIM or an embedded SIM, is essentially the same hardware of a regular SIM card chip but is permanently embedded as part of the motherboard of a watch or smartphone. It is also known as eUICC (Embedded Universal Circuit Card).
Key features and aspects of eSIMs include:
- Remote Provisioning: One of the primary advantages of eSIM technology is that it allows for remote provisioning of mobile network profiles. This means that users can remotely activate their devices on a mobile network without physically inserting a SIM card. This feature is particularly useful for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, wearables, and other connected devices.
- Flexible Carrier Switching: Users with eSIM-enabled devices can switch between mobile carriers without needing to change physical SIM cards. They can download the necessary network profile for the desired carrier onto the eSIM, providing more flexibility and convenience.
- Reduced Physical Space: Since eSIMs are embedded directly into devices, they save physical space compared to traditional SIM cards. This is especially beneficial for smaller devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other IoT devices where space is limited.
- Device Connectivity: eSIMs enable a wide range of devices to connect to cellular networks, including smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, laptops, and IoT devices. This simplifies the process of adding cellular connectivity to various devices.
- Security: eSIM technology incorporates security features to protect user information and prevent unauthorized access. It uses cryptographic mechanisms to secure communication between the device and the mobile network.
- Global Roaming: For users who frequently travel internationally, eSIMs offer the convenience of easily connecting to local networks without the need for physical SIM card swaps. Users can download the profile of a local carrier, allowing for seamless global roaming.
- Environmental Impact: eSIMs contribute to reducing the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of physical SIM cards. The elimination of physical cards helps decrease electronic waste.
- Support for Multiple Profiles: Some eSIMs support the storage of multiple profiles, enabling users to switch between different mobile carriers or plans on the same device. This feature is particularly useful for those who maintain multiple subscriptions.
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- It enables a more seamless device setup experience, without the need to insert or replace a physical SIM card.
- They are easier to activate than SIM cards: While physical SIM cards need to be inserted into the phone for them to be activated, an eSIM can be activated simply by scanning a QR code that registers the eSIM profile with the mobile network.
- Using this feature, users can store multiple eSIM profiles on a device simultaneously and conveniently switch between them.
- With an eSIM, devices will work like a dual SIM phone, a combination of a physical SIM and an eSIM. Dual SIMs give the convenience of having two phone numbers on a single device.
- They take up less space inside smartphones: Nano SIMs are the cards currently in use in most modern smartphones. These tiny cards measure approximately 8.8mm, but eSIMS measure just 4mm. The smaller size means phone manufacturers have more space to add extra features, like more battery capacity or to enhance a phone’s processing power with a faster CPU. It also allows them to improve a phone’s IP rating against water and dust since the absence of a SIM card slot means there are fewer ingress points.
- It takes longer to restore in a new phone: If the phone breaks, chances are that the tiny plastic SIM that was tucked away inside the phone will be relatively unscathed. It can simply be pulled out and inserted into a new handset – but this is not the case with an eSIM.
- It needs to be retrieved and downloaded from the eSIM profile from the cloud, which is considerably more time-consuming to do.
- It also takes longer than it would take to transfer into a new handset when you upgrade.
- Users can be more easily tracked by network providers: Users worried about privacy can easily prevent their mobile network from tracking their location by removing their phone’s physical SIM card. However, since it can’t be removed and is hardwired into the device, eSIM users’ phones will be constantly active on their carrier’s network, and more easily traceable.
Will eSIM replace physical SIM?
This is not likely to happen in the near future, given that most smartphones across the lower segments rely on the technology of physical SIM and the fact that there are advantages of physical SIM cards for which there isn’t a workaround yet.
eSIM technology is becoming more prevalent in modern devices, and its adoption is expected to grow as more carriers and device manufacturers embrace this technology.
It provides greater flexibility, convenience, and efficiency in managing connectivity for a wide range of devices in our increasingly connected world.
Article written by: Caroline