What is an eSIM and how will it change your future devices for the better?

माइक्रो, नैनो हुआ पुराना, आ गया e-SIM का जमाना

The term “eSIM” relates to a new standard being promoted by the GSMA – the association that represents network operators worldwide.

It will come in the form of an integrated SIM, one that cannot and need not be removed from a device – something that consumer electronics manufacturers are also keen to adopt for connected items around the house as part of the Internet of Things, and something that’s been used by some car manufacturers too.

The information on it will be compliant or rewritable by all operators, meaning a user can decide to change operator with a simple phone call. A new SIM will not be required, nor should there be any time delay in switching the eSIM to its new purpose. There will also be no physical swapping over required by the user.

That was the original premise of the eSIM, but one of the advantages it offers from a design point of view is that you make a smaller device because there’s no need to accommodate a SIM card or the tray that holds it, hence the use in devices like the Apple Watch 3.

With the announcement of the Apple Watch 3, Apple confirmed that the new connected version of the watch will be using an eSIM. It will be on the same number as your iPhone, so there will be a seamless experience across the two devices. For the Apple Watch 3, that means you can use messaging services, place calls, use mapping or stream music without your phone. 

The future of eSIMs

There’s more to the future of eSIMs than just smartwatches, though. Some believe we’ll one day seem them used in all phones.

The GSMA is the organisation that represents the interests of mobile operators around the globe, and it has announced a standard for this new kind of SIM.

Besides Samsung and Apple, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa (owner of Three and soon O2), Orange, Telefónica (the current O2 owner) and Vodafone are also said to be on board.

The network data that a standard SIM card carries will be rewritable on future eSIM devices, so all you’ll need to do to change operator is make a phone call or two – rather like when you arrange to bring your phone number across to a new network now (though hopefully even easier).

Another advantage will be when travelling. It will be much easier to switch to a local network if you’re going to be spending any great amount of time abroad – particularly useful when travelling outside the EU, where roaming charges can be extortionate.

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