The rapid growth of mobile phones and cellular connectivity was due to one key element – the SIM card. A traditional SIM card stores a subscriber’s identity securely once a device gets connected to a network.
With the advancement of M2M (machine-to-machine) communication, it became pivotal to connect all types of devices to a network. As this went beyond mobile consumer devices, some limitations of the traditional SIM card became obvious. It provided limited accessibility, wasn’t resilient enough for extreme weather conditions, and proved too large for several real-world applications.
Dawn of the eSIM:
Providers have started switching to the new and improved version of the traditional SIM card – the eSIM. An embedded SIM card is fitted permanently within a device during the manufacturing process itself. That way, it cannot be removed and does not require a separate physical slot in the machine.
According to the GSMA’s Director of PR, there are several benefits that an eSIM’s design alone can unlock for OEMs and end consumers. With the new integrated structure of the eSIM card, eSIM devices can now be lighter and smaller. It opens up the applications of eSIM to other smart devices like wearables and remotely located data points.
Soon enough, smartphones are also going to switch entirely to eSIM technology. Mobile phones can benefit a great deal by removing the physical slot for SIM cards. Every physical space in a mobile device incurs costs. This case is particularly apparent in phones that have omitted the 3.5mm earphone jack. Not only does it help add more valuable components and battery elements, but it also helps keep dust and water out of the device by reducing openings.
GSMA has been working closely with MNOs, device manufacturers, and eSIM providers to create standard specifications for global remote OTA provisioning and manage subscriptions provisioned to consumer devices. It will help consumers download the credentials of operators straight to the embedded SIM within their device. Once the first specification is released, which covers provisioning for any device, the next version of that provision will be launched easily a few days later.
What are some of the other benefits of eSIM smartphones and smart devices for consumers? They aren’t just limited to the functionalities of the eSIM but also the limitations that traditional SIM cards had and the innovative ways eSIM technology is taking them down. From lower roaming rates to cheaper services to better quality VAS and other benefits, eSIM has ensured that mobile connectivity will never be the same again.
Benefits of eSIM Technology for Consumers:
1. Switching networks is more accessible:
eSIMs make it easier to switch networks on your mobile devices. Earlier, consumers had to order a new SIM card if they needed to change networks. They would then have to eject the old SIM physically and replace it with the new one. With an eSIM device, you don’t need to do any of this. You also don’t need to search for a SIM ejector every time.
2. Temporarily switch to a different network:
One eSIM card can store a maximum of 5 virtual SIM profiles at once. You can seamlessly change networks if your local network does not receive coverage in some areas. It is also more cost-effective as consumers can evade the high roaming charges that might apply. You also eliminate the risk of losing your SIM card because you cannot remove or replace it.
3. You can have multiple SIM cards:
One eSIM card provides the benefits of a dual-SIM phone. You can use more than one SIM card profile on a single device; this is highly beneficial for users who require different numbers for personal and business use without switching devices. You can use both numbers to make calls and send texts at all times. You get to choose the SIM you want to use for each of these purposes.
4. Less physical space is used in the device:
One crucial benefit of eSIMs is the elimination of physical slots for SIM cards. Fewer openings or vents in a device reduce the risk of dust or moisture damage, thus increasing the product life cycle. This space can be used to possibly increase the size of the battery or features of the device. Additionally, the reduced size requirements of eSIM cards open up new possibilities for eSIM applications. These chips can now be applied to multiple smaller devices like wearables or headsets.
5. Handsets can be made smaller:
With the physical SIM slots gone, OEMs can make devices smaller and cheaper. This can keep costs down and increase the applications of the present devices. Devices that already have eSIM cards today are the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5, as well as Samsung Gear S3 and S2 smartwatches.
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