eSIMs are programmed to override SIM cards in a near future. But what are they about and why is this new technology important?

What is an eSIM?

eSIM (or Embedded SIM) are in a way what is left when you delete everything that is not essential inside a SIM card. This chip, much smaller, and therefore easy to integrate even in tiny devices such as smartwatches, incorporates the same features as regular sim cards. The main difference is that it frees up space in the smartphone and must be activated differently by your operator in comparison to a classic SIM card.

esim compared to other sim cards

esim compared to other sim cards

So it is not a dematerialisation of the SIM card, but for the user, it looks a lot like it. Because of its size, eSIM is likely to be found in an increasing number of watches and other connected objects, but also in smartphones, where this earned space is available for other uses, for example, to increase the size of another component, such as the battery. Or to serve as a second SIM slot like on iPhone XS.

There are other advantages. For example, eSIM allows you to get rid of the SIM card drawer, making it easier to seal and dust-proof smartphones. It is also a significant advantage for consumers, at several points: in particular, the simplicity of subscribing to an operator’s subscription. You no longer have to travel or wait to receive a SIM card. Just choose your operator on your device, or ask by phone to subscribe you to connect immediately.

Finally, there is a security argument: if someone steals your smartphone, eSIM will make it unusable, and it will be challenging for the thief to resell it. An eSIM is both the possibility of deactivating your subscriber’s information in 5 seconds and of blocking the registration of new users in the eSIM once the theft is detected.

eSIM: What are the disadvantages?

Do you switch from smartphone to smartphone in a matter of seconds, or even keep a regularly charged device to replace the one you use in case the battery is low? It will near impossible for you to remove your SIM card from one device and insert it into another, as there is no longer a drawer. However, this disadvantage should quickly disappear when more smartphones are eSIM, as it will be easy to activate a subscription on another smartphone.

The problem is probably more of a problem for the operators as they are losing some control. eSIM involves inviting a third-party authority between you and your subscription: your manufacturer. It is the latter who will activate or deactivate your SIM card so that this step no longer belongs to your service provider.

As smartphones begin to switch to eSIM, do you find the technology necessary and useful? Or would you prefer to keep the small physical card, so easy to lose but so tangible? Share your opinion in the comments.