Are physical SIMs a thing of the past? eSims are more flexible, more customer friendly and growing in popularity. Read more to learn what is an eSIM, how download an esim on your smartphone, and why you should take advantage this new technology.
What Is An eSim?
eSim stands for Embedded Subscriber Identity Module, and is, as the name would suggest, an embedded SIM that cannot be removed. Unlike the traditional physical SIM, which can be inserted into a phone and taken out, an eSim is built into the phone’s board.
eSims are quickly growing in popularity, as an easier, newer and more reliable technology than SIMs. eSim technology means you don’t have to buy a new SIM if you switch network providers or phones; you can easily switch providers and have multiple accounts on my phone, and switch between them with ease. The future of smartphone technology means you do not need to limit yourself to one account, one number and one network on your phone.
How Does An eSim Work?
eSims are not quite ready to entirely replace physical SIMs, most people use eSims as a second SIM to hold a second number on their phone, for work or for travel. However, a future where plastic SIMs are obsolete is not far off, and would cut down hugely on e-waste.
To get an eSim on your phone is actually very simple, as scary as it may sound. If it is not physically embedded into your phone, you can use a QR code, like you use to view a menu at a restaurant, to download the eSim into your phone.
If you use an iPhone, simply follow these steps:
- Open Settings, navigate to Cellular
- Click “Add Cellular Plan”
- Scan the QR code provider by your eSim carrier
If you have an Android phone, follow these steps:
- Open Settings, navigate to Network and Internet
- Click the +
- Click “Don’t have a SIM card”
- Scan the QR code provider by your eSim carrier
- Click “Activate”
Will My Phone Work With An eSim?
Most modern smartphones are eSim compatible. Laptops or tablets with data connection can also be used with eSims.
Smartphone models that can be used with eSims are:
✅ Apple (iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone SE, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, iPad mini)
✅ Samsung (Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung Galaxy Note20, Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S22, Samsung Galaxy S22+, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy S20+, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G Fold, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G)
✅ Google (Google Pixel 6 Pro, Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 5, Google Pixel 4, Google Pixel 4a, Google Pixel 4 XL, Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 3 XL, Google Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 3a XL)
✅ Huawei (Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro, Huawei Mate 40 Pro)
Research conducted in July 2020 by ABI Research estimated that, by 2025, around 781 million eSim-enabled phones will be circulating.
Why Should I Use An eSim?
The basic advantage of an eSim is that if you want to change network provider, data or phone plan, you can do so without making any stops to the shops or physical changes to your phone; you can make these changes while on the move.
This is ideal for the frequent traveller, or someone wanting to separate their work and personal lines on one phone. You can switch lines on and off depending on where you are and which line you need for what.
Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of having an eSIM:
Advantages of an eSim
eSims are built for the customer’s convenience. They can give the user much more flexibility when it comes to managing different carrier plans. Smartphones with an eSim either embedded or downloaded into their system let you add a second network, plan or line. Meaning you can have a separate line for work or travel that is specifically catered to your personal use, and an eSim lets you change providers simply by clicking a button.
- Multiple Lines
If you don’t want to have two phones, one for work and one for personal use, for example, an eSIM is a great solution. You can add up to five eSims on one phone, and receive calls and texts from as many numbers at the same time while also having the option to use each line for specific use.
This is a great solution to e-waste, as many businesses give out work phones that eventually end up in a landfill. eSims are the next environmentally conscious and technologically advanced step.
- Better Design
Without the need for a physical SIM slot, not only can smartphones be built smaller, but they can also be built smarter, for example waterproof and more dust resistant, made to last longer.
eSim smartphones are more resilient and convenient for designers and customers.
- No Roaming Charges
When you have the freedom and ability to switch lines on one phone, it also means you can avoid paying roaming charges abroad. If you are a frequent traveller, a British expat or just a holiday goer, you can use a separate number while abroad to avoid paying roaming fees, which you would have to pay using your normal UK number.
For example, you could disable your UK number and use your Devyce number with an eSIM with data while abroad to stay connected but not pay extortionate amounts.
- Easy Activation
Activating an eSim requires none of the bother of inserting a physical SIM, handling the tiny chip and unlocking the miniscule holder, requiring the steady hand of an expert.
Also, when using a new physical SIM, it can often take up to 24 hours to activate. eSims get you connected in up to 15 minutes.
Disadvantages of an eSIM
- Changing devices
As easy as it is to switch network providers, lines and so on, it is less easy to switch over from an old device to a new one with an eSIM. With constant updates on smartphones, many of us upgrade our phones every couple of years, and it is easy to transfer all the information from one phone to another with a physical SIM that holds it all.
However, in an ever increasingly wireless world, many of us store our information, contacts and photos on the cloud, which makes it easy to move information from one phone to another, regardless of what type of SIM you have.
Your data, overall, is more safe with an eSIM, as there is not a physical copy of your information that can be stolen and downloaded. Yet, there is a risk in keeping anything on the internet, as it can be vulnerable to hackers. But, then again, this is the same with anything wireless, most of our lives are downloadable on the internet and it is up to us to install and manage privacy tools to protect our data.
Devyce is introducing eSIMs with UK data to our Xpatfone customers, for British travellers and expats abroad. Subscribe to Xpatone here: https://xpatfone.com/ and be the first to know when UK data is available!