In recent news Samsung launched their latest smartwatch the Gear S2, featuring the integrated e-SIM technology. How will this affect Australian consumers and will the functionality become popular? Read on for our findings on this story.
- The Samsung smart watch, Gear S2 includes e-SIM functionality. By working with GSMA, they are using the same standard as other device manufacturers.
- By giving consumers exactly what they want, through the introduction of e-SIM technology, users won’t be locked into their network carrier of choice.
- The device e-SIM will allow consumers to switch network providers at their time of choosing.
e-SIM device functionality
As all the major smartphone and tablet manufacturers continue to add e-SIM functionality to their devices, the day that the actual physical SIM card disappears is becoming closer.
It was only a few months ago, in the later parts of last year that both Samsung and Apple released next generation devices including this exciting new technology.
They are not the only companies to be doing this, with Google and the Nexus generation of smartphones also opting to include this Soft SIM technology in their next generation mobile phones.
The important thing for consumers to keep in mind is that all companies are using the same one standard for the embedded e-SIM technologies, which will allow consumers to enjoy one standardised platform.
Unlike the video wars a decade ago, where consumers had to make the choice between VHS and Betamax, no such competition will occur with the new e-SIMs.
Thanks to GSMA the association which represents mobile operators and associated companies, one universal standard for the e-SIM has been decided on, no matter the brand or manufacturer.
All devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, tablets and smartphones will all use the same inbuilt Soft SIM.
The Samsung Gear S2
“At Samsung, we aim to meet and anticipate consumers’ needs and the development of the first GSMA-compliant eSIM is a further example of our pursuit of meaningful innovation. We are excited to introduce Samsung Gear S2 3G classic as not only a starting point for more devices to be connected globally but as a step forward in our commitment to support the development of the IoT market.” – Yunsang Park, Senior Vice President of R&D Office, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.
Now, while the Samsung Gear S2 is a new style and interestingly functional device, this is not the first device to include an inbuilt virtual SIM card.
Beaten at the finish line, only a few weeks before the Gear S2 was launched, Apple-related their latest generation iPad which also included the e-SIM.
The Apple iPad allows users of the device no matter where they are in the world, to connect to networks of their choice, all from inside an App, with the touch of a few fingers.
The e-SIM will allow the user to input their network carrier details into the device, storing them for future use and to be used whenever the users like, all without needing to switch out physical SIM cards.
GSMA working with manufacturers
At a recent interview, Ian Pannell was asked for GSMA’s opinion, on the benefits of e-SIM functionality for consumers.
“We don’t want the consumer to be disadvantaged compared to the current SIM model.”
Ian went on to say that “We’re putting the first specification out for companies that may want to launch products that are very simple.” He adds that the eSIM is also 90 percent smaller than a traditional SIM card, offering “a big saving in space.”– GSMA chief engineer, Ian Pannell
While almost all of the big smartphone and device players are working together in agreement with GSMA, Apple is yet to come to the table officially as part of the line-up.
Apple, while working to the standard agreed to by GSMA, when it comes to the functionality and usability of the e-SIM, has yet to agree formally to be involved with the group.
Apple has been busy focusing on their Soft SIM technologies, most recently announcing their plans for the Apple SIM to be rolled out as standard on their next generation devices.
A few months ago a GSMA spokesperson was quoted as saying the “association would continue to work with Apple to secure their support for the initiative, we are optimistic a formal agreement with them is still in progress.”
Samsung though is powering ahead, with the Samsung Gear S2 smart watch already released in Australia and rumours swirling about that they are busy working on the next generation to be released later in this year.
Samsung has played a major role in driving cooperation between device manufacturers and GSMA, as a group adapting the e-SIM technology to their devices.
Their role has been instrumental in helping the GSMA to collaborate with global operators, SIM vendors and to work together in the rolling out of e-SIM functionality for the better of consumers.
With a common approach in giving consumers a consistent experience, delivered through Soft SIM technologies, the market when it comes to the IoT is only set to continue with it’s growth and popularity.
Giving consumers increased choice will benefit device manufacturers, as their future business models and take up of their respective eco-systems, relies on consumers not being locked into their network carriers.
Soft SIM technologies give the power back to the consumer when it comes to choice o preferred network.