What is an eSIM?

We are all familiar with mobile phone SIM cards. They’ve been around for years. The cards themselves have got smaller, and support newer technology, but they’ve remained basically the same. However this is all changing with the arrival of eSIM’s. The eSIM is already available in phones from the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung. But what is an eSIM and why would you want one?

What Is An eSIM?

The ‘e’ in eSIM stands for embedded. This means that the SIM itself is built into the phone. Where the traditional SIM is removable and is inserted into the phone, the eSIM is part of the phone. It is very similiar to the NFC chip that is used for payment technology like Google Pay or Apple Pay. The other key difference to the traditional SIM is that the eSIm is rewritable.

The eSIM is much smaller than even a Nano SIM and this means that manufacturers can produce smaller, thinner, lighter handsets. eSIM’s are also likely to become the ‘norm’ in items such as laptops and tablets, giving those devices seamless connectivity.

Due to the small size there is scope to give items such as smart watches, fitness trackers and even glasses there own 4g or 5g connectivity in the near future.

Why would you want an eSIM?

The main advantage to the consumer is the ease of changing network. Instead of phone calls, getting your PAC code, waiting for a new SIM installing it and waiting for your number to swap over things will be much easier.

Because the eSIM is rewritable you can change provider as you please. The most common way to get a eSIM contract is via a QR code. You simply scan the QR code and the network is installed on your phone.

You can also store more than one network on the eSIM. This is great for travellers and will eventually mean no more roaming charges. You will now download a local SIM plan after arriving at your destination (or even before you get on the plane). As nearly all eSIM-enabled phones also support dual-SIM technology, they can benefit from low cost data and still receive calls from their friends and family on their home number.

Currently most phones shipping with eSIM’s include a traditional SIM tray too. This gives the consumer flexibility and allows you to have a second number on the same phone. This can be great if you are used to carrying a work phone and a personal mobile. You can keep the two separate, deciding which numbers are dialled from which SIM and even the ability to turn one SIM ‘off’ when you want. But you only have to carry one handset.

What Are The Disadvantages?

The main disadvantages at the moment are that not all handsets, or networks, support eSIM’s.

However, the latest iPhones, Google Pixels and Samsungs have the technology. And the latest Motorola Razr is eSIM only, with no physical SIM tray. It’s likely that eSIM will become the standard and eventually the traditional SIM tray will disappear.

All 4 of the main networks in the UK, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone offer eSIM’s. Some eSIM only providers are popping up and it’s likely the ‘virtual’ network providers such as Sky, Virgin, Tesco etc. will offer them within 12-18 months.

How do I get an eSIM?

If you have a compatible phone, visit your preferred providers website and search for eSIM’s. Or pop in store if you prefer.

GSM Arena appear to have the best, most up-to-date list of e-SIM enable devices.

How We Can Help….

Your Comms provides managed communications for small businesses. We can manage your mobiles, hosted phones, broadband and more. We developed Your Comms to bring the level of customer service we provide to our IT clients to the world of communications. If you’d like to know more call us on 0115 8220200, complete our contact form or schedule a call with our Comms expert Mike Birt.