Digital SIMs Make Phones Waterproof
The Times, 25 August 2020

Smartphones could soon be waterproof as the need for physical SIM cards disappears, experts believe.

One of the greatest obstacles in making phones waterproof has been protecting the holes in SIM-card trays. But tech giants such as Apple, Samsung and Google are making sure their new models work with digital SIM cards, which are simply downloaded on to the phone.

Gary Waite, of Sim Local, which provides prepaid local SIM cards to international travellers, said phones would soon come without a tray. This will also help to ensure they are waterproof.

“The holes like the one for the speaker can all be made waterproof quite easily,” he said. “But the SIM tray is a real problem as if you get water in there, that’s really bad news.”

Digital SIM cards will also allow people travelling abroad to download the services of a local network provider before they arrive, to avoid roaming charges and save the hassle of finding a kiosk that can sell a physical version.

In the UK, Vodafone, EE and O2 all handle digital SIMs, although Vodafone only does so for Apple Watch devices.

Phones can handle up to 15 digital SIM cards, so users can flick between cards as they travel. They can also have two networks connected at once, so a user can use two domestic SIM cards for work and personal use.

Mr Waite said that buying a physical SIM would soon appear old-fashioned. “I call it a silent revolution as consumers don’t really know about e-Sims yet,” he said. “But what we’re seeing is once people try it, they don’t want to go back”.

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