Apple and Google Leading the Way on eSIM Adoption

The number of eSIMs installed in devices will increase from 1.2 billion in 2021 to 3.4 billion in 2025, mostly thanks to Apple and Google devices, according to a study conducted by Juniper Research.

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eSIMs are small modules embedded directly into devices that provide cellular connectivity by storing multiple network operator profiles, removing the need for a physical SIM card in an ejecting tray.

The adoption of eSIMs in devices is expected to increase 180 percent by 2025, with as much as 94 percent of global eSIM installations being driven by the consumer electronics sector. Other contributors include the industrial and public sectors.

Although widespread adoption is reliant on network operators, Apple and Google devices are highlighted as the most important drivers in the adoption of eSIM frameworks, accelerating the growth of the technology in the industrial and public sectors. The research paper urges device manufacturers to place more pressure on operators to support eSIM frameworks and accelerate market maturation.

Apple has pioneered the commercialization of eSIM technology since the launch of the cellular Apple Watch Series 3. eSIM has since proliferated to the iPad Pro and iPhone in 2018.

The upcoming iOS 14.5 update is also expected to add support for dual 5G-band using the physical SIM as well as the eSIM chip. This functionality was previously only available in mainland China.

eSIM adoption by more carriers is likely to lead to the eventual removal of the SIM card tray on the ‌iPhone‌ and create more internal space, but as shown by the limited support for eSIM on cellular versions of the Apple Watch in some regions, there is still some way to go before the technology has truly widespread use.

Tag: eSIM

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Top Rated Comments

cmaier Avatar
43 months ago

I did look at asking my provider (O2 UK) for an eSIM after I got my iPhone 12 Pro, but they're asking people to only contact them for urgent queries during Covid. However, it got me wondering if there's any compelling reason to switch to eSIM, or is it something I'd come to regret, for example when it came to upgrading my phone? Is that a seamless process, or is it one of those things where provider's systems crash for two days when a new iPhone is launched?
It depends on your carrier, but in my experience eSIM was a bit of a pain when upgrading my phone a year and a half ago. I had to call the carrier and have them send me a code. Much easier to just move a physical sim.

I think I read somewhere that this may be resolved now, and that when activating your new phone now it can move the esim over from the old? Not sure.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
axantas Avatar
43 months ago

I did look at asking my provider (O2 UK) for an eSIM after I got my iPhone 12 Pro, but they're asking people to only contact them for urgent queries during Covid. However, it got me wondering if there's any compelling reason to switch to eSIM, or is it something I'd come to regret, for example when it came to upgrading my phone? Is that a seamless process, or is it one of those things where provider's systems crash for two days when a new iPhone is launched?
Be VERY cautios about that hyped esim thing.
I can only speak about my case in Switzerland, but I recently wanted to switch my esim (Prepaid) from an iPhone X to a 12. Easy thing, I do have that scannable code. But I was wrong. The code is (depending on carrier) only valid ONE TIME. Removing and adding the esim means, that I have to visit their store (for security reason) and get another code. The code cannot be provided online (for security reason). I have to get another piece of plastic with a new code on it. Furthermore a change of esim can only be done in your providers home network - impossible during roaming.

Owning a real SIM ist just pop out pop in, finished. esim ties you - depending on your provider - to one device, unless you are granted an audience in a shop of your preferred provider and maybe pay for the new plastic.

So: also be cautious about a local carrier holiday esim in your primary slot. You may not be able to add your home-esim anymore without that audience.

I am very disappointed by that esim hype. Try to avoid it as long as I can...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mtneer Avatar
43 months ago
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0924487 Avatar
43 months ago

Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
It will be like switching your broadband subscription to a new physical location. Like when you move, etc. It’s gonna be long waits at the customer service line that are always “experiencing higher than normal volumes right now, please call back later or visite our website”.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0924487 Avatar
43 months ago
Won’t happen unless China relaxes the ban on eSIM for primary mobile phones. They only allow it for smart watches and other secondary devices.

Reason is eSIM is harder to regulate and harder to track. It blurs the uniqueness of the subscriber from the regulators. You need to keep a dynamic database of who is which identity at every moment in time.

This leads to fraud and spam.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Benjamin Nabulsi Avatar
43 months ago
AT&T didn't do a good job making this easier, you have to go to the store and hope to find a card that has the QR code which always out of stock. they could make the process easier by sending the card by mail or allow generate it online.

eSim is not just great for a second line but also for making it hard for whoever steals the phone to swipe the sim.

update att prepaid was able to switch my phone esim but it was awkward, gave them the serial number and the call got disconnected and then i went to add cellular plan and it showed up there.

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Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)