What is eSIM? Explained.
Want to know more about eSIM? Then you're in the right place.
In this Q&A page, you'll discover six key facts and trends that are shaping the eSIM ecosystem in 2020.
Let's get started.
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#1 What is an eSIM? What's the difference between SIM and eSIM?
We're all familiar with the SIM card that we have to pop out from our previous phone and insert in our new device to get wireless service.
But things are changing.
In just a few years, eSIM has become a generic term used all over the world to describe a new vector of mobile connectivity for consumer and IoT devices.
As its name suggests, the embedded SIM card or eSIM is built into the phone's board.
It's rewritable and compatible with all leading carriers.
- The chip and its super secure software come embedded inside the phone.
- The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) credentials, necessary to sign on to our preferred carrier's cellphone network, are downloaded.
- The eSIM works precisely as a SIM card.
eSIM specifications (data format and security mechanisms in particular) are standardized to allow interoperability and enable remote SIM provisioning of any mobile device.
It sounds easy, and it is.
eSIMs are found in a wide range of consumer products such as smartphones, wearables and computers.
They are also included into smart meters, medical IoT devices, home automation and security systems, connected cars, IoT asset tracking devices or handheld POS (Point of Sales) systems, to name a few.
#2 What is the size of an eSIM?
An eSIM module is very tiny.
More precisely, the eSIM size is 2,5mm by 2,3 mm and thickness is 0,2 mm.
OK, we know what you're thinking.
The answer is "NO".
You won't have to plug it in. The embedded SIM secure elements come either plugged-in or soldered
As a reminder:
- A regular SIM or 2FF (Second Form Factor) measures 15 mm by 25 mm
- The micro-SIM, or 3FF SIM card is 12mm by 15mm and 0,76 for thickness
- The nano-SIM or 4FF is 8.8 mm by 12.3 mm
#3 What are eSIM advantages?
So, is eSIM better than physical SIM?
And it's pretty obvious once you think about it.
- For the end-user, the onboarding experience is straightforward. The eSIM allows an electronic device to be used as soon as it is switched on. As the eSIM is rewritable, changing operator is as effortless as a …phone call.
- For service providers, logistics and support are simplified: no more SIM cards to managed at the customer's level.
- For eSIM carriers, eSIM is extending mobile connectivity to many new consumer connected devices and creating new business opportunities.
- For designers, new devices can be smaller, more dust resistant and waterproof.
#4 Which smartphones support eSIM, other than iPhone?
The list of compatible eSIM devices is getting longer as we speak. It's only a matter of time before many devices from phones, wearables and tablets and portable PCs embrace embedded SIM cards.
It's because major operating systems such as Google's Android and Wear OS, Apple's IOS, and Windows 10 support eSIM.
These eco-systems are creating a powerful momentum for eSIMs.
- Phones: Currently, Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, Motorola Razr and Samsung Galaxy Fold and latest S20 phones support eSIM.
- Watches: The Apple Watch, Huawei Watch 2, the Samsung Gear and Galaxy Watch are eSIM-ready.
- Other devices: Apple iPads, some Lenovo and Microsoft PC models have adopted the eSIM format. Huawei also has eSIM-enabled models.
#5 How many smartphones support eSIM?
The trend is upward.
According to an ABI Research study published in March 2020, eSIM-enabled smartphone shipments are to double in 2020 to 225 million units from 102 in 2019.
The company forecasts a minimum of 500 million eSIM-powered phones to be delivered in 2024.
The support of eSIM by major operating systems, the launch of Samsung's S20 devices in particular and the increasing eSIM readiness of carriers are three significant elements taken into consideration in the market analysis.
#6 eSIM carriers
As of early 2020, over 200 mobile network operators have or are planning to launch eSIM services, according to our company.
It's true that in early 2020, many carriers are not eSIM-ready yet. But it's just a matter of time, as we said earlier, before all major networks support eSIM standard.
Where do we fit in?
Thales is working with nearly 450 MNOs globally. The company has been awarded over 190 eSIM management platforms to mobile operators, MVNOs but also OEMs and carmakers.
We have the largest SIM and eSIM customers and partners worldwide.
Our team of experts for SIM and eSIM-related technologies is the largest in the industry. It keeps coming with new ideas and products that have won critical acclaim at innovation award ceremonies.
You can count on us, now and in the future.