Believe the hype: the eSIM is here
"What's the catch?"
It's often the first question we ask when we hear news that seems too good to be true. There's an understandable reluctance to believe the hype, especially when a new technology begins to build an enthusiastic following.
In online journalism, the benefits and potential of a new innovation will often be overexaggerated in an attempt to drive clicks and views. It's understandable that commentators and consumers alike might eventually become suspicious, especially when something gains near universal acclaim.
This is exactly the case with eSIM. For the last few years, there has been a slew of increasingly enthusiastic articles and opinion pieces on its many benefits. Numerous magazines and news outlets have championed this technology, painting it as ground-breaking, revolutionary, and a leap into the future.
We've inevitably reached the point where some sceptics are pushing back, perhaps believing that the reports on embedded SIMs must be hyperbolic or exaggerated. The fact that it really is worthy of this level of excitement makes tackling these concerns all the more important.
We're going to address some of the recurring points raised by opponents of eSIM. But first – what are they opposing?
The Next Big Thing
Since the SIM card's conception, there's not been a great deal of evolution in this area. The removable SIM gave our phones and devices connectivity, and while handset design and performance has been perfected, these small plastic chips have shrunk, certainly, but remained present.
The eSIM fulfils the same function as the regular removable SIM—and then some. It's a rewritable chip, built directly onto a device's motherboard, and it allows a phone's components to be entirely self-contained.
Is it the next big thing in telecommunications? Yes—and here's why.
With an eSIM-enabled device, consumers can now enjoy out-of-the-box connectivity, without having to procure a SIM card separately. A user can just turn their device on, download the data plan of their choosing, and get online.
This opens a range of new options, with remote SIM provisioning – blowing the operator market wide open – enhanced IoT capabilities and much more on the table. With a host of obvious benefits, why do some people doubt its credibility?
Roaming - redefined
One of the first things that become apparent when discussing the benefits of eSIM is its potential to eliminate roaming charges abroad.
With the eSIM, when you touch down in a new country, you can simply download a local plan onto your device. The user can pay local rates and avoid unnecessary charges.
However, recent online articles have claimed that this function isn't necessary, because there is already an answer to this problem.
The solution, apparently, is to buy a different SIM card for whatever country you happen to be in. This would then be used in either your regular device or in a second handset, bought specifically for this purpose.
Now, that's technically true, in countries which do not enforce Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. But when you weigh these two options up, there's a clear winner. With an eSIM in your device – be it a smartphone, a connected watch, or anything else you rely on for connectivity – you can host multiple SIM profiles. You get to keep your own number and you can download the profile you need even before you travel. Getting a new plan is as fast and simple as downloading an app.
The real strength of the eSIM is its capacity to streamline and simplify. A specific function might be achievable without it – albeit involving multiple devices, numerous different SIMs, and the need to physically change the card (and your phone number) every time you want a new plan – but the eSIM makes that process intuitive, easy, and ultimately stress-free.
There's another issue that has been raised recently as a counter-argument to eSIM's obvious advantages: the on-boarding process itself.
A recent article on LinkedIn – which has subsequently been quoted in and influenced the content of other online think-pieces – pointed out this perceived problem. How can you go online and download your plan if you don't have a SIM profile to begin with?
The issue was specifically framed as an obstacle to gaining connectivity when travelling. However, at home or abroad, this isn't a problem at all.
Any eSIM-enabled device will come with a certain degree of in-built connectivity. Truphone is an industry leader in this system, offering bootstrap connectivity – an instant connection built into the eSIM that exists entirely independently of any data plan.
With this in place, your device will always be able to access a selection of operators and plans wherever you are. It's an oft-overlooked and regularly misunderstood aspect of the eSIM's user experience, but it will increasingly become an essential element in device connectivity.
Information is the key
"I don't understand - how can it connect without a data plan?"
This is the classic structure of most, if not all, objections to eSIM. It might seem like a logical pushback, but it's really just evidence of a lack of information.
The more the consumer knows and understands about the eSIM, the more apparent its benefits will become. The facts are all in its favour, so the more we demystify this technology the more assured its place will be in the future of telecommunications and connected device manufacturing.
When there's this much hype, there will always be dissenting voices, born out of a lack of understanding. With eSIM, the best antidote to this is the product itself. The more you know, the better it gets.