ESIM – What is an eSIM?

You’ve probably heard of an eSIM before. But what is an eSIM and how is it different from regular SIM cards?

Embedded SIM

A SIM card is a card in your mobile phone that tells the carrier who you are. Without a SIM card, the carrier does not know that you have a subscription with them and therefore would not allow you to use their master.

Mobile manufacturers are gradually scrapping the old SIM cards and are paving the way for eSIM instead. Examples of phones that have eSIM are iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4 and Motorola Razr.

The e in eSIM stands for Embedded SIM (Embedded Subscriber Identity Module) and was created by GSM Alliance. The specifications for eSIM were released in 2013 but had probably been worked on for a few years already. SIM cards have usually been something you insert into the side of the mobile phone, the eSIM card is embedded inside the device instead. There are many advantages to the new technology, including how small the component is, how it makes it easier to change carrier and how it helps different units to be connected.

  • eSIM stands for embedded SIM.
  • GSM Alliance created eSIM.
  • eSIM cannot be removed but is instead embedded in the device.
  • eSIM is smaller than previous SIM cards.
  • The technology makes it easier to change carrier.

Makes it easy to change carrier

With regular SIM cards you had to change SIM card when you changed carrier. eSIM makes it easy for you to change carrier or to have multiple carriers on the same phone. These embedded SIM cards makes it so that carriers unable to lock your phone against a single carrier.

For us at Soluno, which works with telephony for companies, we see great opportunities with this. eSIM is very good if you want your job number and your private number in one and the same phone.

There have long been smartphones with dual SIM, ie mobile phones that can accommodate two Nano SIM cards. Samsung Galaxy and Huawei P30 Pro are examples of mobile phones with space for dual SIM. However, Apple’s iPhone was long overdue on this front, but when Apple released the iPhone XS with eSIM, new opportunities also opened up for Apple users.

When you use eSIM you often only need to download an app, buy a subscription, then you are ready to surf and call with your new operator. Something that has proven extra smooth for people who travel a lot.

eSIM affects the size

It is becoming increasingly important for mobile manufacturers to keep down the size of the components of our mobile phones. This is to be able to keep the size of the phones down without affecting performance and to instead be able to accommodate components that need to be larger, such as the battery.

We have seen a steady decline in the size of the SIM card. This has to do with the manufacturers’ desire to reduce the components. That’s the same reason Apple removed the home button and headphone jack. As the screen of the mobiles continues to grow, the internal components continue to decline. Space is a luxury product in mobile telephony and an eSIm is more than half as small as the next smallest option, a Nano-SIM.

In addition to the eSIM, itself being smaller, one must take into account that it also does not have to sit in a plastic holder next to the associated ejection spring, as an older SIM does. Therefor, there is a very valuable place to save with eSIM.

Helps keep devices connected

In a world where Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming increasingly important, we want to be able to keep our various devices connected, without being connected to a mobile phone. Since eSIM is so much smaller than regular SIM cards, these are perfectly suited to fit in smart watches and such that have even less space than a regular mobile phone. This allows your devices to be connected on their own, without being paired with a mobile.

eSIM can make the phone more water resistant

Another advantage of eSIM is that it can make the phone more water resistant. This is because the phone’s body becomes more closed as it does not need a SIM card slot. And everything that makes our mobiles more durable is positive for us users.

The future of eSIM

We will see a steady increase in the use of eSIM, both in our mobile phones but also in other devices that we want to be able to keep connected. eSIM’s strength lies in their ability to adapt and change SIM profiles, which makes it easier to handle large distributions of IoT devices. Especially if the units are spread over large geographical distances, such as in shipping or agriculture. eSIM shows great potential when it comes to streamlining devices and machines and its size is advantageous for manufacturers that produce small devices. With eSIM, we will get affordable networking solutions for IoT, both for consumers and companies.

Glossary
CO Neutral website