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What Is An eSIM & How Does It Work?

An electronic SIM card or eSIM is a small chip inside the phone that works on the principle of wireless data exchange, like NFC. For example, a virtual bank card stores all the necessary data, so you can pay at the checkout by simply tapping your smartphone on the terminal.

The eSIM works on the same principle: there is no physical SIM in the phone, but there is a special chip that contains data about operators, phone numbers, tariffs, etc. The smartphone's battery serves as the power source for the built-in eSIM chip.

Like a regular SIM card, an eSIM allows you to use cellular communication and mobile internet, but unlike a physical carrier, it must be fixed, correctly inserted, or lost.

You can change your phone number and mobile operator many times by recording new data on the electronic SIM card. This can be done remotely in a few minutes, with only a smartphone supporting this technology and an internet connection.

Key Takeaways

  • An eSIM is a small chip inside a phone that stores data about mobile carriers, phone numbers, and plans. It works wirelessly, similar to contactless payments.
  • With an eSIM, you don't need a physical SIM card. You can switch phone numbers and carriers by remotely programming the eSIM chip in just a few minutes.
  • eSIMs are convenient since you don't have to swap physical SIM cards. They can also store multiple profiles, allowing you to easily change between plans to save money.
  • If your eSIM phone is lost or stolen, you can block it to protect your personal data. You can also use the same eSIM profile across multiple devices like tablets and smartwatches.

Main Advantages of The Electronic SIM card

eSIM technology is developing rapidly and being actively implemented by many brands. However, like any innovation, it has its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages of using eSIM include:

  • To insert or move a physical SIM, disassemble the phone with a pin or unique key, which is inconvenient. With an eSIM chip, you don't need to do this – activate it through the device settings and enter the required data.
  • The ability to store multiple numbers. eSIM memory can hold up to 5 profiles from different operators. This allows for easy tariff switching and, therefore, savings on communication costs.
  • A virtual SIM card cannot be lost alone with the smartphone. But if the phone is lost or stolen, your personal and financial data will be protected by blocking.
  • Users with multiple eSIM-enabled gadgets can use the same device. For example, it could be a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.
  • When manufacturing smartphones, the technology allows you to do without a compartment for a physical SIM card. This not only saves useful space but also increases the device's protection from moisture and dust.

It is worth noting that eSIM technology has a few peculiarities:

  • Today, not all smartphone models support eSIM. You cannot insert one if your gadget does not have a built-in chip. (The choice of models with eSIM is still not very wide, but it's only a matter of time).
  • When using an eSIM, you cannot transfer numbers by moving a physical card – you need to get used to cloud storage. This is not exactly a downside, but it may be a disadvantage for people who find it challenging to break habits.

How do you check if your phone supports eSIM? 

To find out if your phone supports eSIM, visit your mobile operator's website and inquire about it through their online chat. Alternatively, you can check the list of eSIM-compatible devices on the ESIM-Man platform.

Conclusion

The eSIM technology provides convenience and flexibility, allowing connection to cellular networks without a physical SIM card. In 2024, it brings numerous benefits, although there are also some drawbacks. However, according to the data of many experts, by 2025, more than half of all device shipments will be compatible with eSIM. This technology will be applied not only in smartphones but also in cars, PCs, and routers.

Essential Industry Insights for Further Reading

  • GSMA eSIM Specification: The official industry standard for eSIM technology from the global mobile network operators association.
  • Apple's eSIM Overview: Learn how eSIM works on the latest iPhones directly from Apple, a leader in eSIM adoption.
  • Thales eSIM Solutions: Explore eSIM products and services from Thales, a major provider of eSIM technology to device makers and mobile operators.
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