What is an eSIM? Everything You Need to Know About It

By Haseeb Awan

Last week I bought a terrific smartwatch i.e., an Apple Watch  Series 3 GPS + Cellular. The experience was astounding but I conquered this dilemma of eSIM technology?

Within the latest Apple Watch, resides an odd hidden twist: a built-in SIM card that isn't a SIM card. It's an eSIM, or embedded subscriber identity module.

It took me an hour to get through this 'thoroughly' as it was my first experience. Based on it, I thought of writing an insightful eSIM three-part blog. Fret not, it's easy to configure it.

So without further ado, let's get into this!

What is an eSIM?

The buzzword "eSIM" merely means a SIM card that is integrated or embedded.  No physical SIM cards are involved and there is no physical swapping over is needed by you. The network or carrier must support eSIM and enable it, and eSIM is not yet supported by all networks.

Basically, an eSIM is a small chip within your phone and appears to work in a way similar to the NFC chip being used in payment techniques such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

eSIM is supported by GSMA, the Mobile Networks Association, and the eSIM standard has been defined worldwide by that organization.

The information on an eSIM is rewritable, meaning that with a simple phone call you can decide to change your operator. They're very simple to extend to a data plan. It can be done in minutes to connect devices with eSIMs to a mobile account.

What devices does eSIM support?

The most notable ones are:

  • iPad Pro
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4 and 5
  • iPhone XS, XS Max, 11 and 12 series
  • Google's Pixel 2 (originally used for Google Fi in the US)
  • Google Pixel 3, 3 XL, 4, 4XL, 4a
  • Moto Razr flip phone
  • Windows 10
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered PCs

FYI: Every year, more eSIM capable devices are produced, and not all are mobile phones. We have been used to connecting other devices such as laptops or tablets to Wi-Fi, but with the increasing adoption of eSIM technology, it is only a matter of time before they can all connect independently to the internet.

eSIM vs. SIM

When they are traveling, many travelers fail to locate a reliable mobile network, and even if they find one, they do not need the service for more than a month.

The similarity between the two [eSIM & conventional sim]

There is a SIM vs. eSIM stigma because they are entirely different systems, and they can not be fairly compared.

Most individuals, however, would be shocked to understand that they have quite a few similarities, such as:

They both connect your phone to the network of your mobile provider.

  • Both of these can be found in several different devices (not just phones)  
  • Both remember your phone and the plan used.

Here are the eSIM positive aspects:

  • eSIM can not be physically harmed or lost: because it's installed inside phones, at the least suitable moments, you run far less harmful cards and weaken your signal quality.
  • The eSIM can be used with a SIM: phones with dual-SIM technology can switch between a SIM data line and an eSIM to get the best possible signal worldwide.
  • eSIM is tiny: because an eSIM is small, it can fit into modern wearable technologies, such as watches or other devices, which over time can become smaller.
  • Multiple cellular profiles can be stored by eSIM: There is no limit to storing single cell phone plan information; it can therefore be used anywhere around the globe.
  • eSIM is not easy to hack: when in a roaming situation, hackers must pivot through a billing-process protection feature and the cloud to intrude into your phone data.
  • It's easy to track eSIM: Network operators can monitor eSIM over the air, making it easier to pinpoint your location in case your phone got lost or stolen.

The negative aspects of eSIM are here:

While eSIM can seem flawless at a glance, the use of eSIM still has a few drawbacks.

  • For older phones, eSIM is not available: eSIM is not compatible with older phone models because it's relatively new, and you will have to pay for an expensive new phone.
  • They can both be used on a dual-SIM phone simultaneously.
  • Technically, they are both SIM cards.
  • Yes, that's correct, they're both SIMs. However, with the carrier plan, a SIM card is a chip that is physically inserted or removed within your handset. An eSIM (embedded sim) is installed into your phone and indirectly downloads the schedule of your carrier.
  • eSIM is more difficult to transfer data: you have to retrieve your data from the cloud to get your addresses, texts, and other media back instead of popping the card out of a broken phone.
  • eSIM can't be used on different phones: because it's embedded, there's no way you can take the card out and use it on an unlocked phone.

P.S it doesn’t end here. To be continued...

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