Why are eSims becoming popular in 2022?

Embedded SIM cards or eSims are growing in popularity in 2022. They are expected to capture a larger market share and even replace traditional SIM cards in the near future.

In 2021 the supply of digital SIM cards (eSims or embedded SIM cards) increased by 9% compared to 2020 and reached 337 million units. This data was published in early April 2022 by analysts with the Trusted Connectivity Alliance. The data shows that the number of eSIM profile transactions increased by 54% due to the great functionality of the technology. The data is, therefore, clear: the demand for eSims across the world is rising.

What is an eSim?

SIM cards for cell phones have been around for 25 years. During this time they have not changed much, changing only in size. Functionally, however, they have remained the same. A significant disadvantage of traditional SIM-cards is the purchase and maintenance of SIM-cards in the offices of service providers. It takes time, physical movement to get there and to do the research to choose the optimal operator. A feeling of confusion can sometimes be felt when signing off on paperwork.

What am I actually paying for? What are the hidden costs?

For example, if your SIM-card breaks, or you need to change the operator, in any case, you will need to go to the sales office and spend a lot of time drawing up papers.

The eSIM card, however, is analogous to the usual plastic SIM-card and stores all the data as its predecessor. Now to change the number you do not need to go to the SIM-card and then insert it into the device. The eSIM card contains a set of the encoded digital data and in order to transfer them to the device it is enough to scan the QR code of the operator. After this, even on devices with one slot for a SIM-card, several telephone numbers can appear at the same time. The old SIM card will work as before. The eSIM chip is located on the phone’s circuit board and can be reprogrammed for another operator that supports this technology.

Picture credit: Brett Jordan

Why are eSims becoming more popular in the year 2022?

The increase in eSIM adoption in 2021 has been driven by a well-developed global infrastructure, which as of April 2022 is widely and increasingly used by all major Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers. Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA) members have seen significant investment in eSIM Subscription Manager (SM) platforms that provide remote provisioning and management of the eSIM lifecycle. Building on this investment, operators are now increasingly activating and managing eSIM for customer authentication and connectivity.

Firstly, we will have to look at the practical advantages of eSims in general

Three principal advantages are highlighted below:

Embedded SIMs are convenient for traveling

With a physical SIM card, you would have to buy a local operator’s card in order to continue using communication services. Or to connect to roaming, which is not always cheap. But now there are a lot of applications that allow you to get a special eSIM for travel in a few minutes, and very cheaply.

Embedded SIMs cannot be damaged/lost

Over time, any physical SIM card will wear out and need to be repaired and replaced. Also, the SIM card can be stolen, and if you store your contacts on it, it can lead to data leaks. This rings true if you’re the kind of person who forgets to protect it with a password. The advantage about using an eSIM is that it’s hardwired into the motherboard, and you can unplug or plug it back in with a few clicks.

They make it easier to locate your iPhone in case of theft

Security has grown in value to the average mobile consumer in the year 2022. There are times when people do not set up the locator and geo-location display, which is probably not the most ideal if you’re using an iPhone. In this case, the eSIM can help find your device, because the operators have access to the data and can help track the signal or block the card. This is a very neat advantage to have.

Traditional SIM cards are predicted to be completely replaced by eSims in the future.

Photo credit: Markus Winkler

While it may not occur in 2022 or the next three years for that matter, but eSims are expected to dominate the market in the next decade. For example, Android 13 will support smartphones without a slot for physical SIM cards. According to various sources, Android 13 will support recording multiple phone numbers on a single electronic SIM card (eSIM). Thus, the physical ones will likely disappear as competitors competitors latch on to this trend. It’s been noted that in 2023, Apple will release the first smartphone without a slot for a physical SIM card. Google has offered support for eSIMs in its phones since the Pixel 3a.

Which phones support eSims in 2022?

So which phones actually support eSIM? All iPhones from 2018 (iPhone XS) onwards support eSIM, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, S21 series and the new S22 series. Other Samsung phones with eSIM include the Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra and all Samsung phones with foldable screens (Fold and Flip). Google, as previously stated, has offered support for eSIM in its phones since the Pixel 3a.

In other words, eSIM is not yet a standard feature in phones but the list is growing. If we missed any model, please leave a comment!

Final verdict about eSims

It is no surprise why eSims are growing in popularity in 2022. It completely eliminates the need for small plastic SIM cards and allows you to activate cellular packages or switch between different cellular carriers.

Instead of a new SIM card for these switch-overs, simply perform the operation by pressing a button or scanning a bar code.
With an optional wristwatch, the digital SIM card service can remain available regardless of smartphone proximity.

If your wristwatch or any other device supports a digital SIM card and there is a communication package that supplies it with data, you can leave the house and update it. They are simple and flexible.

It is safe to conclude that eSims will continue to grow from April this year (the time of writing) and in the next five years.

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