What is an eSIM? Is this the future of SIM cards?



When Apple announced Watch 3, it introduced eSIM. With eSIM, Apple Watch can be used without pairing with a phone. It allows it to operate as independent as a phone. Not just Apple, Google also talked about eSIM. How does this eSIM work? In this article, I will explain what is an eSIM and how it is different from normal SIM cards?

What is an eSIM?

As the name suggests, eSIM is the electronic SIM card that will replace the physical SIM card we insert into our phone. The eSIM card will be equivalent to the physical SIM cards but embedded in device and it cannot be removed.

The eSIM is also known as eUICC (embedded Universal Circuit Card). It will be rewritable by all operators. If you ever want to switch the mobile operator, it will be updated over the air to change the operator. SO, you do not need to get another SIM card, replace it with the current one and wait for activation.

Another benefit of the eSIM is its small size and it also helps device manufacturers in reducing the size of the device as well.

GSMA has started exploring possibilities of software-based SIM cards starting 2010 and work began to bring eSIM. The initial version of eSIM was limited to support specific devices, but recent advancements have made it possible to use in wide range of consumer devices.

In past, Apple tried a similar thing with Apple SIM. Samsung also used similar kind of tech in Samsung Gear S2 Classic 3G back in February 2016.

Network operators should also support the eSIM facility. Pixel’s eSIM is limited to subscribers of Google’s Project Fi. For others, there is an option to put regular SIM cards.

The Challenges of eSIMs

As I already said, it will not be easy to roll out it globally, Device manufacturers will have to follow suit and carriers will have to support it. Devices cannot drop the current physical SIM card slots for eSIM until all carriers start supporting it.

For, now switching phone is easy and you can easily pop out sim from one and put it on others. With eSIM, it can be a time-consuming process. It may take time in deregistration of SIM from older phone to registration on a new phone. Now think if you just want to change SIM card for few minutes to test something.

Apple Watch 3 uses the same number that you use on your iPhone. It shows the possibility of the same number on multiple devices at the same time. What if a hacker manages to clone your SIM into another device and starts using your number and you are paying bills. So, security is another major challenge.

Final Words

Now the eSIM is a standard and most of the carriers will start supporting it soon. When the support is widely available, we can expect future devices to come with just eSIM.

It will be interesting to see how people will be able to switch eSIM from one phone to another. The security will be another important thing. As of now, it is not available in India. SO, I didn’t get a chance to try it by myself.

What do you guys think about eSIM? Let us know your views in the comments below.