SIM or Subscriber Identification Module has been through many alterations over the years. Over the past two decades, we have observed that the size of the SIM cards has reduced significantly. From a plastic card to an inbuilt mobile chip, SIM cards have come a long way. It started with a bulky chunk of plastic in our mobile devices and has evolved into a virtual eSIM, which has been introduced in flagship devices and will trickle down to the budget ones eventually.
eSIM or Embedded SIM, as the name suggests, is a SIM card which is embedded inside the device. There is no physical SIM card. The only thing you need to connect is your phone number and password.
One of the most significant features of eSIM is that it is entirely rewritable, this means that we can easily change our mobile network operator by just making one phone call! We can use multiple carriers on the same device without any physical change in the SIM card. Though all the operators do not support eSIMs as of now, we can expect them to switch to this new technology very soon.
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There is a misconception amongst people that eSIM was Apple’s idea. GSM Alliance created eSIM. GSMA released the specifications of the eSIM in the year 2013. Apple had introduced a somewhat similar concept in the year 2014 known as Apple SIM. These Apple SIMs were physical cards. Apple switched to embedded Apple SIMs in the year 2016. The events occurred so rapidly that it was enough to create confusion amongst the people. However, Google Pixel 2 became the first device to implement the concept of eSIM in the year 2017.
Which Devices Support E-Sim?
eSIM is supported by a few of the high-end devices recently. Apple, one of the biggest names in the tech industry, has also started using eSIM in its latest iPad Pro and Apple Watch along with dual SIM support in iPhone XS and XS Max — one of which is eSIM.
Another big name, Google, is working on Project Fi, which is a network that supports eSIM. Google has also launched some devices that support eSIM like Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Along with these, eSIM is also supported in some other devices which use Windows 10 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor.
Also read: 5 types of SIM cards explained
Why are we moving towards eSIM: Advantages and Disadvantages
All these years, we’ve been using carrier-specific SIM cards. eSIMs came out as a revolution, and they are undoubtedly the future of connectivity. There are a few reasons why we should prefer eSIMs over traditional SIM cards.
- They optimise connectivity management. Have better connectivity than traditional SIMs.
- They provide additional security as the eSIM is embedded inside the device, and even if we want to change the carrier, there is no need to replace the SIM or carry more SIMs with us.
- Even if the mobile device goes missing or gets stolen, we can prevent the misuse of the SIM swiftly.
- They are reprogrammable and hence are beneficial to be used as enterprise devices.
- We can save up the space taken by SIM card readers on mobile phones.
eSIM has its flaws that should not be ignored. One of the significant disadvantages of eSIM is that the data is not stored on the eSIM. In case of a physical SIM, we can quickly transfer the data present on the SIM card to another device by physically moving the SIM card itself. But in case of an eSIM, we have to rely on the cloud services for the same.
eSIMs are the future of mobile connectivity. Though there are some disadvantages, the advantages which eSIMs provide outnumber them by a considerable margin. Many renowned brands are coming up with eSIM supported devices, and by 2020 it is expected that almost all the major carriers will provide eSIM services. We can expect even more sophisticated telecom technology in the coming years as the world shifts towards cloud networks.
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