The eSIM stands for “embedded SIM”. It has been one of the most talked-about topics in the mobile industry in the past three years. But what exactly is it?
An eSIM is a standardized SIM chip open to multiple mobile operators globally. Meaning, if you have an eSIM you don’t have to replace one SIM card with another when switching network carriers. Since the eSIM can be programmed remotely, it allows you to choose another carrier by just messaging the old and new provider.
In the telecom industry, Apple and Samsung are leading the pack in promoting eSIMs and have been encouraging network providers to adopt the eSIM technology for upcoming smartphones.
At the moment, less than twenty countries across the globe have eSIM support carriers & infrastructure and MTN Nigeria recently introduced this to Africa’s most populous country; the first in West Africa.
Bayo Adekanmbi, Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, at the trial launch of the MTN eSIM highlighted several reasons why the technology would be ideal for consumers.
- For starters, the eSIM is eco-friendly. According to Adekanmbi, “previous SIM cards were generally made with some plastic which were of no use. Ideally, what makes the SIM card work is the chip and not the plastic. Customers embracing the eSIM would be reducing the use of plastic and thereby reducing the user’s carbon footprint, which is good for the environment.”
- Travelers, tourists or consumers relocating to other countries can easily switch operators from country to country without the need of getting a new device, another SIM card, or roaming their lines. Local customers also have the advantage of switching from one mobile carrier to another for reasons like a better deal or better network coverage in an area. This means less time speaking with carriers, and ordering and waiting for a new SIM; all of which can be done from your phone settings via the eSIM software.
- Customers will also not have to go through the hassle of cutting SIM cards or looking out for devices compatible to their current SIM cards when changing devices. All they need to do is authenticate their identities at the nearest carrier’s branch to activate their profile on the new device.
- The eSIM offers much more flexibility to the consumer than currently used SIM cards do. With eSIMs, it is possible to have two plans from two different carriers. This means you can use one number for business and another number for personal calls; add a local data plan when you travel outside of the country or region; and have separate voice, text and data plans.
Still not convinced? Let’s now leave you with the reassuring words of Adekanmbi, maybe that will help: “With the introduction of the e-SIM, we will offer customers a SIMless, seamless and distinctive digital experience with new levels of flexibility, simplicity, and convenience. This is a further demonstration of our firm commitment to delivering the benefits of a bold new digital world to our customers”.