What is an eSIM and how do they work?

January 23, 2024

eSIMs are already revolutionising travel by making expensive roaming charges a thing of the past, but what is an eSIM and how do they work? In this article, we are going to explore these very questions along with investigating the advantages of an eSIMs, on top of the savings!

Introducing eSIM – the tiny but mighty tech that is set to play a key role in the Internet of things (IoT) industry.

eSIMs are already revolutionising travel by making expensive roaming charges a thing of the past but they will soon feature across a wide variety of other devices, modernising the way we shop, research, and access entertainment, to how we control items around the home.

This all sounds very impressive, but what is eSIM and how do they work?

In this article, we are going to explore these very questions along with investigating the advantages of an eSIMs.

Contents:

• What is an eSIM?

• How Does an eSIM Work?

• What are the Advantages of an eSIM?

What is an eSIM?

First off, the ‘e’ in eSIM does not mean electronic like it does in the word ‘email’.

The ‘e’ in eSIM stands for embedded, which describes an eSIM pretty well without getting too technical, as it is a SIM card that is embedded directly into a device, such as a phone or smartwatch.

We explore this in more detail below, but here are some eSIM facts:

• eSIMs cannot be removed from a device like traditional SIM cards, however eSIM plans can be loaded and deleted as and when required

• Most smartphones have eSIM technology built in

• eSIMs are software-based and have been in discussion since 2010

• eSIMs were first featured in the Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch in 2016

How Does an eSIM work?

Unlike regular SIM cards that you can swap out, an eSIM is a small chip that's built right into your phone during its manufacturing, like a built-in ID card.

This chip has a special program, called a Subscription Manager (SM), which acts like a secure digital wallet for your phone's identity and network information.

It can safely hold and manage multiple, different profiles or plans, which are like different digital phone numbers or networks, for your phone's use.

This is all part of a bigger system in your phone, known as the Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC), which is the main brain for managing these digital identities.

At the moment, this only applies to eSIM compatible smartphones, although the technology is being developed so that most new phones will eventually be eSIM compliant.

Another thing to note is that eSIMs can only be used on unlocked phones but this can easily be rectified by contacting your current phone carrier and requesting that your phone is unlocked.

What are the Advantages of an eSIM?

There are many advantages to eSIMs, especially when it comes to traveling abroad, so we’ve compiled our top three advantages of eSIMs for phone users below:

1. Saving money

eSIMs offer the flexibility and convenience to switch your network plans to use local networks when travelling to save on roaming charges.

You can hold multiple plans on your phone at one time to suit wherever you are in the world, and you can easily swap between profiles.

2. Remote Activation

The easy and hassle-free way to switch networks, eSIM plans can be activated with just a simple QR code.

This is a faster and more convenient way to switch network providers and is more secure, bringing us nicely to our third advantage…

3. Security

With great technology comes the great risk of your security being breached.

eSIMs are more secure than physical SIM cards as it’s harder for hackers to get unauthorised access to your phone and as eSIMs cannot be swapped or replaced by someone looking to scam you.

Conclusion

The world of connectivity is rapidly evolving and innovative eSIM technology is at the forefront of this evolution.

While eSIMs are not a new invention, the opportunities are starting to become more prevalent and are shaking up the way you connect your phone when traveling by offering an alternative to expensive roaming charges.

eSIMs are essentially a small chip that is embedded within your phone and can store multiple profiles, allowing you to have different numbers and phone plans assigned to your handset, making travelling abroad and staying connected simple.

They also offer a better level of security against hackers and, as they can’t be removed, means it’s incredibly hard to lose or damage them, so they truly are a win-win-win!

Find out more about Sim Local’s eSIM plans.