eSIM in Nigeria — All what you need to know

Advancing with mobile communication technology is SIM card development. SIM cards are subscriber identification modules which are offered subscribers by mobile network operators, most a times for a price. These modules contain a pre-programmed mobile number firmly established in it, in addition to several additional subscriber details. The most recent evolution of these modules labelled the eSIM comes with stirring advantages.

An Embedded SIM or eSIM is basically a SIM card which is embedded permanently into your device. You won’t be able to remove this kind of module from your device, as it is safely soldered to the motherboard of your device. Your thoughts might likely encircle around an idea where one would be unduely limited to the service of a single network carrier. This isn’t the case, as every subscriber using an eSIM compatible device would be able to use the services of different network carriers at will.

SIM innovation

You might also wonder why this new innovation should interest you; it certainly should engage your interest. This evolution in SIM card technology is gradually being implemented by popular mobile carriers and phone makers; it’s destined slowly to your domain. Usual of several innovations in mobile communications, the eSIM innovation is arguably going to be a new norm in years to come, and that should be of appeal to you!

eSIMs was globally introduced in 2016 as a probable replacement to the nano SIM cards which debuted in 2012. Four years after debut, this innovation has been implemented in scores of countries amid interests from firms and persons.

eSim in details

From standard, mini, micro, nano, and now the eSIM, what propels these changes have been size. The space occupied by the standard SIM card is larger than those of the mini, micro, nano and recently the embedded SIM; their sizes are in addition descending down the list. The eSIM is comparatively half the size of the smallest nano SIM card. This minute of size is attained because this type of card is permanently binded to phones, digital wearables and other supported devices; there’s no convenience made for it to be removable.

The size of eSIMs is of advantage to phone manufacturers as spaces would be freed for other necessary components; as well as to the phone users who relish possessing phones with less weight and dimensions. This would result in our phones, tablets and laptops being less in size, a convenience that would positively affect smart working. Auto makers are also advantaged; due to the glued nature of the SIM to gadgets, vibrations usual of most of these gadgets would have less effect on the functioning of an eSIM.

Evolution of embedded SIM

One interesting feature of eSIMs are that unlike other types of SIMs, any subscriber could switch between different carriers or activate many on the same SIM. This means then that subscribers would be spared the inconvenience of possessing different SIM cards, although they may possibly possess different mobile phone numbers as given by the carriers. They would also be spared the incommodity of having to possess multiple SIM cards for calls and data benefits.

More benefits of the eSIM

You won’t need to go through the stress of mobile porting with this newest SIM technology. Switching from MTN to Airtel or versa would be as seamless as imaginable, and you wouldn’t need to exchange SIM cards. Mobile phone users wouldn’t need to be jittery of having their mobile numbers re-assigned to another user when inactive.

Additionally, in the event that your phone is lost, or you intend deactivating your profile with a particular carrier, you could seamlessly contact your operator to deactivate a profile attached to a lost phone. Meanwhile, a software provided with the eSIM enabled device would help in the setup of a profile.

Travelers would greatly benefit from this SIM card technology. By having to install different profiles of different carriers, inflated roaming charges would be a thing of the past. Once in a travel destination, any subscriber would be presented with the convenience of switching to the mobile network carriers in the location. It would be simple as arriving at your travel destination, making few taps on your device and you’re live on another network. This would deny your erstwhile network the charges they would have presented you for roaming.

eSIM in Nigeria

Another benefit of the eSIM would be instanced in the smart technology ambience, the world is slowly gliding towards. With 5G touted as a key driver of the IoT, a full implementation of the eSIM technology would be influential in domineering devices and keeping them connected. Other intelligent devices like smart watches and glasses would be able to act as stand-alone 4G and 5G gadgets. Cars and wearables also would be connected in a way they weren’t before, according to industry backers.

Supported devices

Activating an eSIM requires one foremostly acquire a supported device. As at the time of writing, the following mobile devices support eSIM technology:

  • iPad Pro
  • Apple Watch Series 3,4,5
  • iPhone XS, XS Max, XR (dual SIM)
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max
  • Google Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL
  • Moto Razr flip
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
  • Samsung Galaxy S20, s20+ and S20 Ultra
  • Huawei P40, P40 Pro
  • Nuu Mobile X5
  • Gemini PDA
  • Windows 10 PCs
  • Lenovo Yoga 630
  • HP Spectre Folio

The workings of the eSIM

Setting up an eSIM is distinct for different devices, nonetheless, these processes remain comprehensive and nearly identical.

From the settings menu of your phone, access the connections/mobile networks navigation therein. An option to add a mobile plan through QR or activation code would surface. Once activated, your eSIM could be managed through the SIM manager section of your phone.

eSIM in wearables — credit: TheVerge

eSIM in wearables — credit: TheVerge

Airtime recharges and data plan activations as assumed, would be similar to ones made with visible SIM cards.

How Telecom firms would fare with the new SIM technology

A wholly implementation of the eSIM innovation would certainly be of effect to telecom firms. Long term relationship with a preferred courier would likely be severed due to the laxed restriction in obtaining another subscriber profile. A slight change in service offered by an operator might trigger huge loss of subscribers from a particular telco, a scenario that hardly plays out with the existing SIM architecture still in use, due to the inconveniences of mobile number portability or SIM swapping.

Loyalty of a particular subscribers to a particular MNO would surely be ruffled; case where a subscriber feels obliged to the operator, probably to avoid problems attached to process in change of line, would be a thing of the past.

Telecom firms would also be spurred to better the services offered to their subscribers. The ease in switching between operators would leave MNOs no option than to improve their service or risk a gradual sauntering off from the network.

Competition between telcos would be more close and honest. By virtue of subscribers getting an unfettered means to opt in and out of a network, the only plain strategy to retain or draw in subscribers would be through quality service.

There are yet still unresolved problems

The advent of the eSIM arrives with great advantages, nevertheless, there are still questions pertaining to its technicalities that are yet unresolved.

eSIM in Nigeria

One of the key problems is the present lack of a coordinating authority which would handle the data and records of each subscriber, since this data wouldn’t be stored on a physical module. This is greatly needed given that subscribers would be offered the ease of transferring their data through carriers which might be beyond national bound. The body which presently is non-existent would take on the hefty task of providing a cloud-based identity, and in the management of their transactions and usage histories.

Another worry particularly to subscribers is about tracking of a device through the SIM. The irremovable nature of the SIM makes it impossible for subscribers to retract them from a device in a move to avoid being traced through it.

Despite these seeming disbenefits, the eSIM innovation is gliding slowly towards becoming a new normal. Like the change from removable phone batteries, it isn’t improper to announce the new convention in irremovable SIM cards tagged eSIMs. Presently in Nigeria, only the MTN telecom operator supports the innovation, although it’s on a trial. South Africa is the other known African country that has this technology implemented.

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A potential electrical/electronics engineer in the making, a phone addict and a motivating partner.While he's not researching through with his phone, Daniel spends his time with the books.Twitter: @MrDoubleDaniel Fav. quote: The habit of persistence is the habit of victory!

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