Before exploring what an eSIM is, it may be helpful to understand what a SIM card is. The SIM card, which stands for “Subscriber Identity Module,” primarily contains information that authenticates your identity with the operator.
A SIM card tells the operator that it is you, and without it, operators would not know that you are subscribing to their network and, therefore, would not allow you to use their towers mobile.
But discovering a standard SIM card is not the reason why you are here. Newer phones like the Pixel 4, iPhone 11 Pro and Motorola Razr support eSIM, so it’s a good idea to know what it means.
Here’s all you need to know about the new eSIM.
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What is eSIM?
eSIM is quite what it sounds like: an integrated or electronic SIM card. Instead of a physical card, your phone has built-in SIM technology. It is a small chip used to verify your identity with your operator.
Of course, you probably have questions about this. You may need to switch to the SIM card of another service provider when journeying with a traditional SIM card to maintain your coverage.
If you want to change your home service provider, you will need to replace your SIM card physically. With that in mind, does the integrated SIM card mean you have to change your phone? No chance.
One of the dominance of eSIM technology is that it greatly facilitates the change of operator. Instead of looking for a new SIM card and waiting for it to arrive, you can switch to the new operator directly from your phone.
If you are a dual SIM user, eSIM technology supports multiple accounts, and switching between them is easy. With eSIM, the phone has new dedicated SIM card settings that allow you to switch between lines and mobile operators and manage accounts.
Google Pixel 2 was one of the first phones to support eSIM technology, and an app to manage your eSIM is available from the Google Play Store.
Then came the iPhone XS, which got a physical SIM card and eSIM as a secondary, although eSIM wasn’t activated until later via an iOS software update.
Unfortunately, the Chinese version of this iPhone has wholly eliminated the eSIM, instead of offering a dual SIM location (the practice continued with the iPhone 11).
This could suggest that Chinese operators are less interested in adopting the new technology, which is terrible news for those hoping to use eSIM to get to China.
eSIM is useful for another reason: it helps to shrink the device. This may not be so important for phones (although a little more space for battery capacity is always functional), but it can be beneficial for portable devices.
The Apple iWatch Series 5 and Series 4 already have eSIM, which helps Apple keep overall size low, which is essential for something you wear on your wrist.
When can I start using eSIM?
It may take a while before the full potential of eSIM is realized, but now you can leverage it with the right phone and service.
In the United States, you will find eSIM support in AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Truphone, and Ubigi. Apple provides a frequently updated list of participating operators around the world, and it is encouraging to note that this list is continually increasing.
In the future, eSIMs will probably find their place in a new generation of computers connected to LTE. These computers started coming out in 2018, although we hope to see many more in the years to come.
Slowly but surely, eSIMs will take over. If your service provider supports it and your phone supports it, this may be all you need to get started using the new technology today.
To close the gap, some phones with eSIM still have traditional SIM card slots, but these drawers may disappear entirely over time.