Embedded Sim (e-SIM)
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What is an eSIM (embedded Sim)?
- An eSIM is a programmable chip that is built (embedded) into smartphones, tablets or other devices. An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to use a cellular plan from your carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM. The pre-installed (embedded) simcard is activated by installing the “eSIM profile” of a new operator.
- Technical Name: The eSIM is called by its technical name, eUICC (Embedded Universal Circuit Card) or virtual SIM.
- This has very small physical footprint, even smaller than the nano sims available since 2012. Not having a removable sim slot also saves a lot of space. This is especially useful for smaller electronics like smartwatches. Further, not having the sim tray increases the scope of making the device water resistant.
- It serves the same purpose as a physical SIM, but it is carrier independent and can be programmed via software instead.
- Same eSIM profile can be activated on multiple device (e.g. phone, smart watches etc.) (traditionally, one physical sim card could be used only in one device)
- Switching providers is very easy: Instead of getting a new physical SIM card, all you have to obtain is a configuration file and activate it on the device. Providers generally refer to it as an eSIM profile and offer it as a QR code that you can scan and download.
- Further, eSIM allows storage of multiple carrier profiles on the smartphones and carrier can be switched between on the fly.
- Carriers also benefit as they don’t have to manufacture and provide a physical sim card thus reducing the cost.
- Environment friendly – extra packaging of physical sim card, plastic waste, e-waste etc. could all be reduced.
- Not supported by all carriers yet.
In India, Jio, Airtel, and Vi all support eSIM. You need to send a message to the carrier asking them to activate eSIM and they usually send a code which has to be scanned via the device on which you intend to use the eSIM. Once done, the eSIM should work.