What is an eSIM?
SIMs, or Subscriber Identity Modules, contain a profile that allows a user to be identified over a network. eSIM are embedded SIMs that work with Remote SIM Provisioning to allow users to download a profile onto the eSIM, instead of needing to use a physical card for each new profile. That gives the opportunity for multiple profiles to be downloaded onto one eSIM, or multiple eSIMs to access a single profile.
Here are just a few of the benefits to both consumers and businesses that eSIM technology will bring.
General Benefits of eSIMs
The ways general consumers and businesses use eSIM have many differences, but it is still similar technology with shared benefits. With eSIM, businesses and the public enjoy benefits such as:
- Cost reduction.
eSIM are cheaper to make and you should only need one for the lifetime of the device. That means manufacturing a new SIM for each change is unnecessary, and the savings should be passed on.
- Easier for operators.
The logistics of signing people and machines to a network becomes easier and more flexible.
- More connected devices.
Business and consumers both benefit from the increased possibilities as more devices become connected.
- Increased competition.
As it will be easier to change networks, network operators will need to stay competitive to retain customer interest.
- More space.
It might seem insignificant, but device manufacturers need every millimetre of space. Eliminating the SIM and the housing in favour of a smaller chip frees up space for additional features.
Consumer Benefits of eSIMs
Commercial use of eSIMs has a number of direct benefits to consumers:
- Ease of use.
Customers can easily change providers without needing a new SIM every time.
eSIMs cannot be lost or stolen.
Roaming charges will become a thing of the past with eSIMs, as it will be easy to sign up for an international plan using the eSIM even before you head off.
- Connecting devices.
eSIMs are already available in a number of products such as the Apple smart watch, allowing the devices to function using the same plan as the main device.
eSIM will make devices less expensive with the potential for more functions. It will be easier to compare and change networks, and people will enjoy greater connectivity between their primary and secondary devices. Connecting devices will become easier, and there will be many more options available to consumers.
Business Benefits of eSIMs
Businesses who use connected devices benefit from the possibilities that eSIM technology offer, such as:
- M2M communication.
With eSIM, machines can now identify each other in a network and “communicate” data between themselves and the operators.
- Remote updates.
Previously, software updates had to be performed as part of hands-on maintenance, but eSIM allow devices to be updated remotely.
- Lifetime connectivity.
With the eSIM, software can be updated even if the machinery changes ownership over its lifetime.
As the Internet of Things dominates the way businesses operate, we need to turn our attention to connectivity and how things become connected. eSIM provide a way to actually embed the necessary technology to identify objects in a network and allow those objects to send and receive data.
The most common use of eSIM in business is currently in cars, industrial applications where machines need to send and receive data, and service equipment such as vending machines and smart meters. In business applications, eSIM are prized because operators can change where the data is sent and how it is interpreted over the lifetime of the machine without any hands-on servicing needed.
Where to Go From Here
While eSIMs are currently on the market, there will need to be widespread adoption by consumers before they can be deemed a success. While most eSIMs come in secondary devices such as smartwatches and tablets, the eSIM will need to be installed in an increased number of primary devices. The more eSIM are available, the more telecommunications companies will be willing to offer deals that cater to eSIM holders.
5G looms as the next big technological breakthrough and eSIMs will be poised to fill a much needed supporting role for the increased connectivity made possible in both the consumer and business spaces. The potential for more sophisticated network options, such as network slicing, will be made easier when devices can be easily authenticated on networks through eSIM.
eSIMs are currently available to both businesses and consumers in different applications, but we are far from realizing the full potential of the technology. The more designers work with advances in networking and data transfer, the more exciting the prospects of eSIM become.