Sim cards play a prominent role in mobile devices for cellular calls & packet data. eSIM is also a type of sim card which is embedded inside a mobile device as a chip. So there doesn’t come a requirement to change sim cards physically. Users can remotely add or remove operators without physically swapping the sim cards. Let’s know more about its features and the tentative date of the eSIM launch in Nepal.
History of eSIM
The history of eSIM dates back to 2010 when GSMA discussed a potential software-based sim for the coming future. The first version of the standard was published in March 2016, followed by the second version in November 2017. Samsung Gear S2 Classic Smartwatch became the first-ever device to feature an eSIM. Apple followed the trend from its Apple Watch Series 3 & later along with iPad Pro (3rd Gen), iPhone XS & so on. Google also commenced eSIM implementation from Pixel 2 via Google Fi service in 2017.
Overview of eSIM
Embedded as a chip inside the phone and nonremovable, eSIM is different than the usual plastic SIM cards. It becomes an integral part of the phone itself. Unlike, traditional physical SIM cards, eSIM works under the machine-to-machine mechanism (M2M). Well, machine to machine (M2M) is direct communication between devices using any communications channel, including wired and wireless. eSIM enabled phones can have reliability and better network security. Since it doesn’t need a connector, phones can be slimmer too. GSMA defines eSIM as the SIM for the next generation of connected consumer devices.
The usage of an eSIM also extends to various things such as connected cars (smart rearview mirrors), smart earphones, smart wearables, AI translators, GPS Tracking, video surveillance devices, etc. Another thing to mention, an eSIM must be supported by the carrier to function. Currently, limited carriers support eSIM but it’s growing gradually.
Benefits of eSIM
- Easier to switch networks: On an eSIM, it is easier to switch from one network to another. This means, instead of having to get a new sim card physically from another network carrier, you can just change it via a phone call or online.
- Allows to have more than one SIM: eSIM also provides the same functionality as dual SIM Phones with two SIM slots. So, via an eSIM, you can have two phone numbers on the same device.
- Temporary change to other networks: eSIM can hold up to five virtual SIM cards. This enables the user to use the network of another carrier in necessary situations. Furthermore, one can also switch to the local network while traveling without having to buy the local SIM. This saves time for sure.
- Uses less space on a phone: Another benefit of an eSIM is that it uses lesser space than the physical slim slots. So, this helps in implementing more innovative designs with extra features to utilize the physical space.
- Easy to find lost phones: As eSIM are embedded inside the phone, lost phones can be easily tracked and found. Especially in the case of stolen phones, the thief cannot pull out the eSIM physically. On physical SIM slots phones, thieves can easily destroy the SIM cards which hamper the tracking process peculiarly.
Cons of eSIM
- Switching devices is not easy: On physical SIM slot devices, the user can easily pick out the SIM and use it on another phone. While eSIM cannot be taken out physically which might become a problem in case the phone gets damaged or runs out of battery.
- Subject to track & privacy: eSIM cannot be hidden or taken out. Secret security agencies or data breachers could easily track the location of the user & it might hinder the privacy of the user.
When will eSIM launch in Nepal?
Nepal Telecom, the state-owned telco is working to launch eSIMs in Nepal in the fiscal year 2078/79. This is going to be the first of its kind in the country. Nepal Telecom is planning to distribute 8 million eSIMs for the fiscal year. Further, it also plans to install more than one million eSIMs on supported mobile devices. The company spokesman Rajesh Joshi says, “We are still studying the project. When we have prepared the necessary documents, the project would start right away.”
A tender is known to be called for the implementation of 7.5 million eSIM cards. Let’s hope, eSIM launch in Nepal would happen in the upcoming year of 2079 B.S.
eSIM Supported Phones
Currently, Apple devices like iPhone XS, XR, 11, 12, 13 series, iPad series from 3rd Gen to present, Apple watch series since 3, have the support of an eSIM. With the use of eSIM, current supportive iPhones can work as dual SIM. Similarly, Samsung Galaxy phones like Note 20, S20, S21 & S22 series can run eSIMs. Pixel phones are now also supporting eSIMs since Pixel 2. Moto Razr 2 became the very first flip foldable phone to be completely free from physical sim slots. The upcoming iPhones are also going to be eSIMs only models.
There is indeed the need for eSIMs in Nepal as soon as possible as supported devices are already here in the country. This will ensure innovative growth into the technology & its usage in the country.
So, would you like to have an eSIM enabled device? What do you think about the eSIM launch in Nepal? Do write your thoughts below in the comment section.