Sponsored post by Steve Marks at DigitalContentZone
SIM card technology has come a long way in the past few decades – and it may be taking a greater leap into the future with the advent of the eSIM. Short for embedded subscriber identity module, an eSIM dispenses with the physical card altogether, instead allowing users to remotely download and activate new profiles onto their device.
This is great news for those who like to switch networks on a regular basis, or else those visiting an overseas destination. For example, it’s now easier than ever to purchase and access a Japan SIM card for your next jaunt to the Far East, with the whole process managed online at the touch of a few buttons. Want to learn more about this revolutionary technology? We’ll take a closer look at the eSIM below, including how it works, the benefits it brings and why it represents the future of how SIMs will function going forwards.
What is an eSIM?
When the first SIM card was introduced in the early 1990s, it consisted of a plastic module roughly the same size as a credit card, with a circuit board made from precious metals integrated into it. These metals contained the “profile” of the phone’s users, including their contact number and the network connection needed to make calls and send messages.
Over the years, the size of the card has shrunk significantly, from 54mm x 86mm at its outset to 8.8mm x 12.3mm (the nano SIM card) today. At the same time, its capabilities have developed in tandem, with modern SIM cards storing contact databases and allowing connectivity to 4G and 5G networks, as well as facilitating compatibility with other devices like tablets and laptops.
Regardless of its size, the SIM card has to be purchased and then inserted into an ejectable slot on the device. The eSIM, however, bypasses that part of the process by having the circuit board integrated into the device at the point of manufacture. This enhances the convenience and ease of the user experience substantially – we’ll explain exactly how, below.
How eSIMs work
Instead of visiting a brick-and-mortar store or ordering a SIM card to be delivered to your home address, users can now browse an array of eSIM options online. There are a number of different providers offering various packages, which vary based on the location of the network in question and the duration of the contract.
Once an individual has found the package they wish to buy, it’s simply a matter of going through the checkout process, after which they will receive an email containing a QR code with all of the eSIM’s information on it. To install the eSIM on their device, they must scan that QR code and then, once they are ready to use the new profile, they can activate it remotely using Wi-Fi.
The simplicity of the process means that a new eSIM process can be purchased, installed and activated within a matter of minutes. At no point is it necessary for the user to visit a physical store or handle a physical card. In fact, except in the very rare case that an issue arises, it’s not even necessary to interact with another person throughout the entire process.
What are the advantages of an eSIM?
Now that you’re more familiar with what an eSIM is and how it operates, it should be becoming obvious why they’re an increasingly popular phenomenon in modern handsets, wearables and other devices. However, in the interests of clarity, we’ve laid out their main advantages below:
- Convenience. By far the biggest draw of an eSIM is the ease and efficiency with which they can be installed and used.
- Versatility. With the ability to download and switch between several networks on the same device, eSIM cards are far more versatile than their physical predecessors.
- Travel. eSIMs lend themselves particularly well to travel and tourism, since you can download a new profile and connect to a new network at will.
- Security. There’s no chance of an eSIM card being stolen or hacked, and their hermetically sealed nature means they can’t be damaged or compromised.
- Size. eSIMs are considerably smaller than any SIM card to date and the space they save could be used for a bigger battery, more memory or other features.
- Compatibility. The small size also lends itself to integration with other devices, such as glasses, watches, headphones and other diminutive wearables.
Of course, for a user to take advantage of the myriad benefits that an eSIM brings, they must have the technology already embedded into their phone. This means that not everyone will be able to access them at the present time, though the list of manufacturers adopting eSIM in their latest handsets includes household names such as Google, Samsung and Apple and is growing by the day.
Soon, every make and model of phone – as well as a whole host of other devices, from laptops to tablets to wearables to even cars and bicycles – are likely to get behind eSIM technology. At that point, it will certainly represent the future of SIM technology and the whole world will be able to enjoy the advances it brings.