The Question: What is an eSIM ?

Nov 7, 2017

Sim or Subscriber Identity Module cards are an electronic chip that is used to store Network specific information. This information is used to store certain keys that will be used to authenticate and identify the customers. Till date, these chips were a physical card that had to be inserted into the phone. As time went by the size of the SIM cards have dramatically reduced.


What is an eSIM?

eSIM or Embedded SIM was also known as Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC). The eSIM is smaller than the Nano-SIM card, the eSIM is just  6mm in length and 5mm in width. The chip is soldered to the phone’s motherboard. The chip has M2M and Remote Provisioning Capabilities.


M2M and Remote Provisioning

M2M or Machine to machine (M2M) can be used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans. According to eSIM specifications from GSMA, it uses a standard mechanism for the remote provisioning and management of machine to machine connections. Thus allowing the “over the air” provisioning of an initial operator subscription. It also allows the subsequent change of subscription from one operator to another. eSIM is a vital enabler for Machine to Machine connections including the simple and seamless mobile connection of all types of connected machines. The eSIM is supposed to provide an enhanced experience regarding the activation and management of phones.



Activation of a eSIM

The activation or selecting your existing operator as simple as connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi, all you need to do is go to the settings and select your operator. In MWA 2017, at the GSMA Seminar, Thomas Henze, Program Director eSIm, Deutsche Telekom demonstrates activation of an eSIM can be done via scanning a code from the operator. Another Demo the activation was done by a Universal Activation Code.

eSIM is a boon for travellers, Once your phone has changed the location you will theoretically be able to select a local operator or your choice. Another thing is eSIMs are cheaper to manufacture.

Wearables are one category of devices that would be greatly helped with the advent of eSIMs. Currently, the Samsung Gear S3 Forinter Edition LTE and the Apple Watch 3 are the only wearables with eSIMs. As for smartphones go Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, have eSIMs in order to connect to Project Fi. However, these phones also have a Physical SIM card tray for Nano-SIM too.

In the coming years, every device will be connected with each other. In this IoT era, Our smartphones are the centre of it. Soon cars, TVs, Laptops and much more devices may come with an eSIM, thus enabling a connected world.

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