e-SIMs are here

17th June 2019
e-SIMs are here

Two  Indian  telecom providers  stand   ready  to activate embedded SIMs . What's in it for us?
Bangalore, June 17 2019: When Apple launched the iPhone Xs series in  India last year,  not many buyers realised that its dual-SIM feature represented a small advance:  One SIM was a nano SIM, the other was what is known as an e-SIM or embedded SIM. 
You   didn't need to buy and insert a  second physical SIM. Part of its ROM memory was programmed to emulate a SIM -- any SIM from any  service provider.  The huge advantage for customers was that they could switch from one provider to another  -- and the new company could simply reprogramme the e-SIM  to  assume the new avatar.  If you went on a  holiday to Singapore, say,  you no longer needed to buy a local SIM in the airport. You could  switch  the e-SIM in your phone   to a local provider like Singtel or StarHub, right from your phone by buying a  package  for a week or so.
Two Indian providers -- Reliance  Jio and Airtel --  offered the e-SIM service to iPhone Xs users. But it made hardly an impact, till  the   first Android phone  to come with e-SIM-- Google's  Pixel 3 series --  hit the shops later that year.   This year, the family of phones which are e-SIM-ready is growing, as is the family of  e-SIM smart watches:  Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Gear 2, Galaxy Watch.... and  it is time for the rest of us to  see what e-SIMs can do for us.  At the very least, it will remove  the hassle of   buying a new SIM and inserting it every time we change to a new service .  Jio still requires  you to visit  one of its retail shops to activate  an e-SIM, while Airtel lets you  do it yourself with a few SMSes.   India is one of only 10 countries where you can use an e-SIM.|
The other cool tool that comes with e-SIMs is the ability to store multiple profiles on the same e-SIM and switch  from a work number to a personal one. In the near future, we can store up to 5  profiles on an e-SIM.  One small point: Though the e-SIM too is a piece of silicon, it is embedded in the phone  and can't be removed  -- so you can't switch to e-SIM if your current phone has not got an embedded SIM.  But that is changing. By the time 5G rolls out sometime in 2020, expect most new handsets to come with built in e-SIMs. The biggest advantage? We can switch from 4G to 5G   with a few simple instructions over the air. 
e-SIMs are everywhere, not just in phones. They are also used in so-called  M2M or machine to machine applications: in the recently launched Hyundai Venue car, an e-SIM is at the heart of many smart functions.  Smart water meters, smart luggage,  home security systems increasingly have an e-SIM somewhere in the works.   It's our own version of  a successful Mission e-SIMpossible!