The SIM cards have been used in our mobile for many years and have just changed the size, because the operation remains the same. These cards are used to have operator services, but they are easily damaged and lost. There is a new technology that aims to replace SIM cards, and is called eSIM . They have the same small size but it is installed directly in the mobile circuits.
For those who are not familiar with eSIM cards , the “e” means that it is integrated into the mobile. It is a technology that established GSMA (International Association of operators). Although for now it has not worked as a chip, but as a temporary storage. In addition, it is reprogrammable and modifications can be added. It should be noted that the eSIM have some advantages and disadvantages that consumers must take into account.
Advantages and disadvantages discussion
Along with mobile phones, the SIM card has also evolved since its creation in 1991 . The size of a credit card went to the mini-SIM or the classic SIM that began to shrink in size, first to the micro SIM and then to the nanoSIM. And soon we can touch forget all of them, because the eSIM or virtual SIM has arrived to replace them.
Presented in the prolegomena of the Mobile World Congress 2016 , the eSIM does not stop being a SIM but it will be embedded in the devices, without the possibility of removing it. Apparently it could be a disadvantage, but the truth is that it is not like that: the eSIM has many advantages. Then we will explain in depth what an eSIM is and why it has all the ballots to mark a before and after in the world of connectivity.
Although the SIM could be considered the heart of any mobile phone, the obsession of manufacturers to shrink space inside smartphones to reduce their thickness (and now the frames) has also affected the cards. The miniSIM arrived in 1996 , but it was not until the launch of the iPhone 4 that we moved to the microSIM and to the iPhone 5 when we made the jump to the nanoSIM.
The truth is that reducing the size of the SIM was a simple task, because in addition to being able to rush its size by eliminating redundant plastic, the fact is that even the chip itself was larger than strictly necessary , reducing with the nano SIM. But in a turn of the screw the GSMA, the global association of operators and manufacturers, agreed to shelve the SIM and become an integrated element in the devices, in chip format welded to the plate.
With only six by five millimeters and the same thickness of a nano SIM (0.67 millimeters) the eSIM saves space not only because of its smaller size compared to previous formats, since with it also got rid of the classic tray or pins that acted as contact with the chip. And that is an advantage for classic devices, smartphones or tablets, but above all it is for other types of devices, which will now have easier to integrate an eSIM for its small size. And we talk about almost anything, from watches and bracelets to a multitude of “things” that are not now connected.
So far we have mainly talked about downsizing and the possibilities that this opens, but the advantages of the eSIM go much further. One of them is very obvious: goodbye to thinking about what kind of card (when everyone has the eSIM) dun card I need to get for my device. In addition, the pins that read the usual SIM are especially fragile and difficult to replace, so less risk . One less advantage will be to forget about looking for a pin to open the SIM card.
And we do not want to leave for later a doubt that surely goes through many heads, how are we going to change the operator if the eSIM cannot be removed from our mobile? The portabilities will be even simpler , since it will suffice to tell the operator that we are going to change the numbering of the eSIM (the famous ICCID of 19 or 20 digits that is printed on the current cards) of our device to associate it.
Of course, this does not mean that the deadlines to change the operator will be shortened, because the regulator of each country establishes the process and the deadlines for a potability, and it will depend on them to modify the times. Another thing is that we no longer have to wait patiently for a postman or messenger or go to a point of sale to get the new SIM, because the same eSIM that we can use with one operator can be used with another.
And there is a point we have been promised that can be made, which we hope will be possible when the eSIM reaches smartphones: the possibility of associating it with more than one operator from different countries . Europeans who travel through the old continent may find it unnecessary, for the purpose of payment roaming, but it would be very useful to travel abroad or for users from other countries.
Last but not least, the eSIM will also make it easier to associate the same number with different devices . In addition to being useful to receive calls of the same number in all our devices, it will also make it easier to have a single rate for all of them.
Advantages and disadvantages of eSIM summary
Technology has to mature because we have found several pros and cons to use it.
- It is more reliable : We will not easily lose the eSIM , it is not necessary to cut them and they will not wear out. On the other hand, you do not have to go to the store to catch one or even pay for one such as when companies charged SIM cards. And in the last place, it is not necessary for a company to send it to you, since it is integrated in your mobile.
- Remote provisioning : For people who have used eSIMs for a while, the experiences have been good. In the Google Pixel 2 is activated instantly and the networks that are supporting the eSIM are increasing. Therefore, it is not necessary to change an old SIM, for an eSIM.
- One entry less, more space saving : It is a benefit for the manufacturers as they will have space for other implements. The removal of the components to read a SIM card and the slot, eliminate complexities in the design of the phones and eliminate a hole in the device.
- Helps improve water resistance : One less place to worry about for resistance to water and dust. It is ideal to improve the impermeability of our mobile device.
- Goodbye to the SIM extractor : Millions of smartphones have an extractor to eject the SIMs tray. But they always get lost and we have to choose a pointy item that replaces it. With the eSIM that will no longer be a problem, since we will not have a slot and therefore, we will not have an extractor.
- Better design: surely, the designers will manage to create more sophisticated phones, without borders, now that it is not necessary to remove the back cover to remove the SIM or battery, so, they would be more attractive to the eye.
- Network availability for people who move from country to country: by not having to buy a SIM card from a specific operator, but with the eSIM you only have to call the telephone company and request the connection, this cost can be reduced.
- Changing mobile is complicated : It is very useful to change the SIM from one mobile phone to another with the old ones, since we only open the slot and that’s it. Imagine that you have to get rid of a mobile phone by the SIM, since it will take time and effort to change the eSIM. And if you did not know, there are no phones with dual eSIM (a normal and an eSIM), but it would be very helpful in the future.
- We can not disconnect from networks : We will always have an eSIM on our mobile and we will always be connected to a network. In short our mobile will be easier to track by any government and can be a problem for people who want privacy.
- Piracy : It is easier for hackers to steal information, since we will not have a physical chip that we can replace. However, operators should be concerned about the exchange of data, and the configuration between the network and the mobile.