Wednesday, September 23, 2020

MTN: What you probably don’t know about eSIM

The Africa’s biggest telco, MTN Nigeria, has become the first mobile telecoms operator to introduce the eSIM (embedded SIM) service in the county and indeed West Africa.

The telecom company also stated that only 5000 subscribers can enjoy the service as it is still in the trial stage.

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An eSIM is an embedded SIM card that is directly embedded in the phone’s mechanisms and does not require a SIM slot of its own, as opposed to the traditional SIM cards such as micro or nano SIMs.

How eSIMs Work?

The difference between the traditional SIM card, users had to switch the SIM if they wanted to switch carriers. For the eSIM technology, the end-user can get flexible access to multiple mobile networks without physically changing the SIM card. Instead of having to order a new SIM and wait around for it to arrive, we can switch to a new carrier straight through our phone’s settings.

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The Samsung Gear S2 3G in 2016 was one of the first devices in the world to come with an eSIM. However, it was the Apple Watch 3 that really put eSIM technology in the spotlight. The eSIM can now also be found on devices like the Google Pixel 2 and the iPhone XS.

Advantages of eSIM

eSIM benefits everyone including end device users, operators, distributors, device manufacturers, and so on. The Following are benefits of eSIM:

  • e-SIM is more efficient and less prone to mechanical failure.
  • The devices would become smaller as there is no longer a need to accommodate physical SIM cards. It might not be a big factor for phones, but it’s a big deal for compact devices like smartwatches.
  • You do not need to physically change your SIM card to access networks. You can save multiple network connections to the e-SIM, which can be activated by network operators and then switched with just the push of a button. This will make the connection between various devices such as smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, etc., seamless, thus taking a big step forward in the IoT technology.
  • It has the potential to increase competition between network operators in different countries and thereby reduce international roaming charges.

Disadvantages of eSIM

  • When the mobile phone breaks, it is easy to transfer data to the new phone in case of SIM card. This is not possible in eSIM devices and users have to rely on the cloud services to retrieve data such as messages, contacts, and other useful information.
  • This is problematic for users who do not want to be tracked while using eSIM. It is easy for SIM card users as they can remove SIM cards and therefore it is not possible to be tracked by network operators.
  • Users who like to use different mobile phones can do it easily with SIM cards. This is not possible with the eSIM card because it is integrated into the motherboard of the mobile phone.
  • It is possible to hack eSIM card data from cloud hosting.
  • It is a challenge to be implemented worldwide by network operators in order to provide seamless operations.

Activating an eSIM is simple; it just asks a user to scan a QR code from the mobile network service provider. You can also manually enter the activation code if necessary. It would not be inaccurate to say that connecting with the mobile network is not that different from connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

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