What are eSIMs and what can they do?

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What are eSIMs and what can they do?


This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.

eSIMs are a recent trend that have taken the world by storm. Short for embedded Subscriber Identity Module, eSIMs are designed as an alternative to the physical, plastic SIMs that you slot into your phone.

SIMs hold your mobile number and allow you to send texts and receive calls on your phone. SIMs ease the process of changing your phone, but can be a hassle when switching network providers and changing to a new network during travel, especially if you forget a paperclip or ejecting tool to remove the SIM.

What are the pros and cons of eSIMs?

eSIMs are rewritable, so there is no need to physically replace an eSIM when changing a provider or travelling, users can easily purchase them online and download them onto their phone within minutes. We are still some time from eSIMs entirely replacing SIMs, but they are commonly used as a supplement to a current SIM.

With eSIMs, users can also load multiple SIMs onto one, which serves the same benefit of having two physical SIM slots on your phone – you can switch between providers and networks without having to switch phones. This is useful for people who don’t want to switch between business and personal phones, and for travellers who don’t want to physically purchase and manually change foreign SIMs and would prefer to avoid roaming charges.

In the eventual migration to only eSIMs, it will free up more physical space in phones to make room for other features. Not having to open up a pat of your phone and replace SIMs will also reduce the amount of dust and damage to the inside of the device.

There are still negative aspects to eSIMs, however. eSIMs might be harder to transfer from devices if the user purchases a new phone, for example, and wants an eSIM to transfer over with all their data and mobile information.

Additionally, eSIMs cannot be removed from devices, which is a security and privacy issue for people who are concerned of being tracked. This may be amended in the future development of eSIMs, and could also be seen as an advantage when a device has been stolen.

What devices can eSIMs be used on, and where can you purchase them?

eSIMs are compatible with recent models of iPhone, Google, and Samsung devices. They can be purchased through eSIM apps or online. There has been a surge in downloading eSIM apps that allow for users to easily click and download eSIMs without a hassle.

Popular and well-known eSIM providers include Airalo, easySim, Holafly, and Nomad, many of which provide eSIMs of varying capacity for different prices available in countries all over the world.

Banking eSIMs

Now, banks and payments providers are also getting involved with eSIMs, with Revolut rolling out an eSIM service earlier this year. The service allows Revolut users to buy eSIMs using the Revolut app without using up their mobile data allowance.

Users who subscribe to the Ultra plan will gain access to 3GB of data to use each month all over the globe, and all UK users will gain 100MB of mobile data for free.

Recently Western Union also launched an eSIM mobile data service through its Powered by Breeze solution, that allows digital wallet customers to access eSIMs in over 150 countries.


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This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.