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What is an eSIM?

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What is an eSIM?

An eSIM card is a substitute for the plastic SIM inside your mobile phone, but also tablets, sport-testers, small sensors or smart cars. The fundamental change is to install the SIM card directly into the device. This eliminates the need to insert the SIM card into the appropriate slot. You don't have to worry about losing the ability to change the number of your mobile device. On the chip that is built into your phone, you can easily download your profile or remove it as well. So how exactly does it work?

What is eSIM - the contents of the article

  1. eSIM vs SIM
  2. The benefits of eSIM
  3. eSIM and mobile operators
  4. Mobile phones and other eSIM devices

eSIM vs SIM

A classic SIM card has a chip that contains data. In the case that it is lost or damaged, it is necessary to contact the operator to replace the SIM card. The new eSIM is built into a chip in your phone and offers the user the ability to download their profile from the comfort of their home. Classic SIMs do not even suit manufacturers who have to make slots in their mobile phones. Moreover, especially in the case of current smartphones, they occupy much needed space. If that's not enough, slots are also a good reason to complain about the whole device.

Co je eSIM; čip eSIM

To save space on the device, the plastic SIM is replaced by a new eSIM which has much smaller physical dimensions.

SIM cards are currently ordered by the operator who receives them from their manufacturer and sends the SIM card in an envelope with all of the necessary data to activate or unblock them. At the same time, the operator inputs this data into their computer and sends the envelopes to their new clients. The new eSIM will download data from the manufacturer digitally.

During this time, the data file will be encrypted and will not be unencrypted until the data is downloaded onto the chip itself. For higher data security, the profile with the unique ICCID code from the manufacturer will not be released earlier than the user instruction (via the QR code or entering the eID). A built-in eSIM can only be downloaded once. The process does not last long, the user profile has only a few tens of kilobytes. However, it is necessary to connect to the network.

Small chips replacing larger plastic SIM cards have the potential for further development, especially in regards to smart watches, bracelets, accessories, but also for sensors and some car electronics.

Co je eSIM; čip pro auta i hodinky

The built-in eSIM is also suitable for sports testers, sensors and car electronics.

The benefits of the eSIM

The built-in eSIM offers many benefits, among the most beneficial include:

  • Solving complications when inserting a classic SIM into some devices (temperature sensors, sensors, watches, etc.)
  • Improves the water resistance of the devices
  • Rejected warranty claim due to a malfunctioning slot
  • Saves space on your phone
  • You can activate the SIM without having to visit an operator's branch
  • One profile will be able to manage multiple eSIMs (additional devices or multiple carriers)
  • DualSIM functionality will be even easier - just download the extra data
  • Easier to change operators
  • Easier to get a SIM card outside of EU countries

eSIM and mobile operators

As has been said, the big advantage of eSIM will be how much easier it will be to change your operator. Multiple profiles can be uploaded from one operator to one chip at a time. However, only one can be active. For dual SIM phones, this problem will be solved by two different chips. However, the whole process will continue to complicate the contractual conditions of individual mobile operators.

And where is the often sought hook? Seemingly disadvantageous conditions for mobile network providers are likely to be offset by normal users. The chips will be fitted to additional devices - fitness bracelets, watches and other accessories that you can already connect to your mobile phone today. The agreement with the provider will then expand to many other clever devices. The eSIM standard, the creator of which is GSMA, offers the capability to customise SIM cards in the interests of mobile business policies. What really awaits us with new built-in chips is unclear.

Co je eSIM; jedna smlouva pro všechna zařízení

One contract for all of your eSIM devices.

Currently, only very few operators support the eSIM. The issue of introducing a new SIM system is very complex. It prevents the change of internal systems, the transformation of most working processes, etc. The changes will have to be made by the operator's e-shops and the service departments that fix mobile phones. In the case of classic SIM cards, when you need to put your phone into a service centre, you simply take the card out. Built-in chips will not allow this, and for security reasons, the profile can only be downloaded once. It is therefore necessary to think of another way, a temporary method of blocking of the profile.

Cooperation is also complex. In order to have just one type of chip that will support all of the mobile operator's systems, both electronics manufacturers and mobile operators have to join together. This takes a lot of time. We can only hope that the all of the groups will want to cooperate. Otherwise, we will also have to find methods of compatibility between the mobile device and the operator.

Co je eSIM; GSMA vyvíjí standard pro eSIM

The deployment of the eSIM requires operators and device manufacturers to cooperate.

Mobile phones and other eSIM devices

Mobile phones that support an eSIM are still far from common. This is due to the complicated change of the internal systems of the individual operators and other unresolved issues. The first mobile device with this technology is the Google Pixel 2 including its larger version the 2XL. The public expects the chip to be integrated into the new Samsung Galaxy S9. Additionally, the eSIM has been placed into many smart watches, such as the Samsung Gear S2/S3 and the Apple Watch 3, which share a phone number with its paired iPhone. Behind the scenes Intel is working with Microsoft to create a device with the XMMTM 7260 or the upcoming XMM 7360 chipset to support this technology. Qualcomm has already done the same with its Snapdragon 835 chipset.

In Europe, it is hoped that the migration to the eSIM will be completed by 2026.

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