The humble SIM card has survived for decades ever since the advent of mobile phones. However, in recent years, the use of SIM cards in modern phones has significantly decreased. Manufacturers now prefer to incorporate embedded SIM cards (eSIM) into newer devices as a better and more secure alternative. Since eSIM applications are relatively new to the market, many people are still unaware of their features and capabilities. Here’s a simple beginner’s guide about eSIMs and what role they play in the communications landscape.
What Is an eSIM?
An eSIM is a programmable SIM card that’s embedded in the motherboard of a mobile device. It’s capable of performing all the functions of a traditional external SIM card, only you can’t physically remove it without breaking open your phone and unsoldering the chip.
Using an eSIM sounds like a disadvantage to the uninitiated: you don’t have the option to physically swap it out if you want to change carriers, especially when traveling abroad. However, eSIM allows multiple plans to be stored on the phone which means you can change your network without removing your SIM card and inserting a new one. It’s essentially a more convenient way of switching carriers or having multiple plans anytime and anywhere.
Why Is There a Need for This New Kind of SIM?
Historically, the job of a SIM card was to securely store the subscriber’s identity when the device is connected to a network. In an era of mobile phones and voice, this system worked just fine. However, as technology advances and analog devices become smarter and switch into a more digital-centric design, a need for a different iteration of the SIM card emerged.
With programmable eSIMs being smaller and more portable than ever, they can now be integrated into almost any device that can connect to a network. From cars, watches, toys, wearables to other IoT devices, eSIMs opened up an abundance of new communication applications. eSIM applications allow users to have different plans for personal, business, travel, back-up, and other uses. They immensely enhance access to cellular connectivity, facilitating new use cases.
eSIM Devices and Carriers
Though eSIMs and eSIM applications are still a relatively new technology, there are already over 1.2 billion mobile device that support eSIM feature. Some of the brands that carry phones with eSIM support on the market right now include:
- Apple (iPhones)
- Samsung Galaxy
- Google Pixel
The adaptation of eSIMs doesn’t stop on mobile phones. Virtually any device with network connectivity features can be integrated with an eSIM like the Apple Watch, and recent tablets and laptop models from Acer, Dell, Microsoft, and Lenovo.
As far as carriers are concerned, you’ll still find it hard to find mobile networks that support eSIM services. However, there are wireless carriers all over the world that already support eSIM services at a limited capacity. It won’t be long before these carriers triple in number as soon as more manufacturers produce eSIM-capable devices.
Programmable eSIM API for Businesses
Companies like Celitech now offer programmable eSIM API to help companies boost their engagement with their customers and employees. This is done through the use of mobile apps that utilize these cellular data eSIMs with their own affordable, on-demand plans.
The age of the eSIM applications is finally upon us as we await the production of newer devices and technologies that use this portable and convenient SIM. Although not all phones support eSIM, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the new standard so more people can benefit from it. The GSMA is actually expecting eSIM to be in 42% of all phones by 2025.
Celitech is the world’s first digital-only mobile data platform offering wireless data API. If you are looking for cellular data or wireless roaming solutions, sign up for our 3-min demo to learn more.