In 2018, Apple’s iPhone offered eSIMs, or “virtual SIMs,” to the broader market. Google’s Pixel 2 was the first consumer device to utilize eSIM technology. However, the sheer number of iPhone users that took on an eSIM device legitimized it as the next technological jump. But what is eSIM? And how does it impact your company?
Before diving into what eSIM means to your business, let’s look at the technology. A subscriber identity module (SIM) card is an integrated circuit that identifies a phone as yours and potentially stores contact information on it. eSIMs are a little different, beyond, you know, being embedded Subscriber Identity Modules.
An embedded SIM is a rewritable part of the phone’s mainboard. Which means it can do a lot more than a regular SIM. It’s compatible with any major carrier, for one. If you’re traveling abroad, for example, and you need access to a local carrier, you don’t need to buy a dedicated SIM or even a dedicated device from that carrier. You simply call them up and get your existing device set up with them.
They’ve been around for some time. They’re in any smart car, many smart home devices, the Apple Watch and other smartwatches, and, of course, the Google Pixel 2.
There are some less-than-perfect aspects of the technology that put its overall value into question. For example, not all global carriers are ready to support embedded SIM, and you can only use one eSIM at a time. It will take manufacturers time to adapt to an eSIM phone technology standard, then redesign product to accommodate it. There will also be a learning curve for users who have to figure out how to work with multiple carriers using one device instead of simply utilizing multiple devices or juggling a few different physical SIM cards.
Companies will have to determine the benefits of bringing eSIM phones into the mix for their employees’ use. Could an embedded SIM device be the perfect fit as both a personal and business phone, with the capability of having a single device with two different phone numbers? While it sounds enticing, it also raises questions. Consider the costs, security, complexity and training involved.
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