Hey, Mi Fans!
Recently, eSIM cards have become a hot topic again. This emerging technology has been around for a little while but has yet to hit the mainstream. That could all be about to change. So what exactly is eSIM and, more importantly, are there more positives than negatives of its usage? Let's check it out but before that let's first understand a little bit about SIM and then this eSIM Technology.
What Does SIM Mean And What's Inside It?
The term SIM literally means Subscriber Identity Module, and it’s just a simple memory chip that holds identity information about cellphone users. SIM cards hold a unique 20-character ID number called the ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identifier), which can usually be found on the face of the card and is needed to port the number between different operators.
Plus, this card contains an ISMI number (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), which is basically your phone number, some security information, a list of services the user has access to and two security codes.
The first code is your PIN (Personal Identification Number) and the second is the PUK (Personal Unblocking Code), which helps us unlock the PIN if there are too many failed attempts at the PIN. All this information is necessary to be able to make calls and for correct data traffic between the mobile networks of different carriers.
SIM cards also contain an SMS memory (not used by modern smartphones) and personal contacts. The memory on standard SIM cards ranges from 8 KB to 256 KB, which is enough space for more than 250 contacts. However, nowadays it’s much safer to keep your contacts in the cloud than on your SIM card.
What’s An eSIM?
eSIM cards are the newest and most recent SIM card format, although they probably shouldn’t even be called that. The name eSIM means embedded SIM, which is a SIM card integrated into something. It’s not a real SIM card, but rather an integrated chip that follows SON-8 standard directly within a device, which means it can’t be removed or switched out.
It’s More Reliable
You can’t lose your eSIM, it doesn’t need to be cut to an exact size, and it won’t wear out. You don’t need to go to a store to buy one, or even pay for one, like the bad old days when companies would charge for SIM cards. No need to wait for a company to send one out either.
People have been using eSIMs a little while now and experiences have been good. With the Google Pixel 2, Project Fi activates almost instantly. Switching between networks that support eSIMs, which are increasing, means no need to switch between old SIM cards and new SIM cards. Remote provisioning makes the switch quick and painless.
One Less Ingress Point And Space Saving
This one benefits makers directly, but it will flow down to consumers as well. Manufacturers have gradually cut down SIM card size, using the saved space for other useful components. Removing the components to read a SIM card, and the SIM card slot itself removes a handful of complexities in smartphone design and removes a big hole in a device.
Switching to eSim means there is one less place to worry about water and dust resistance, which helps improve IP ratings and general water splashproof-ness. Companies justified removing the headphone jack for space reasons, so removing the physical SIM card space may give us more room for new technology.
You Don’t Need The Little SIM-Ejector Anymore
With a few billion smartphones now in existence, there’s also a few billion of those little pokers for ejecting physical SIM cards. Even with so many around, you can never find one when you need it. Even the guy who normally carries around a bunch of them has lost them gradually over the years, stolen by those he thought he could trust. Now that’s not an issue!
And Yes of course, there won’t be a need to jam other sharp objects in your phone when you lose the poker too.
Switching Phones Is A Little More Complicated
Tech reviewers will change SIMs at the drop of a hat between phones, and for everyone else, it’s always been useful to pull out the SIM card and remove a significant amount of personal information.
Of course, phones these days are full of images, video, music, photos, passwords, notes, settings, and so on, but the SIM had plenty on it as well. Disposing of a phone or passing a phone down the line to friends or family will take a little bit more effort in order to wipe the eSIM properly.
Currently, there aren’t any dual eSIM phones either — just support for a normal SIM and an eSIM. Dual eSIMs seem likely in the future, but we haven’t seen any yet.
No Disconnection From Cellular Networks
Now that an eSIM is always present, you’ll always be connected to a network once you’re provisioned. That makes phones far more trackable. Any device with just an eSIM will constantly be active and on a network.
For most law-abiding people of democratic states that’s not an issue, but there are plenty of regions in the world where people may not want to be tracked by governments or intelligence. Yes, it’s a little bit far removed from what most people deal with, but it could be a problem.
The move towards the eSIM is another sign of the times, where technology could improve our lives — with a few side effects. It won’t be too long before explaining to another generation how physical chips were necessary to receive 180-character text messages will make it seem like we lived in the dark ages.
So friends, what do you think about this eSIM Technology? Do you think we are ready for it? Are pros worth enough to let the cons go? Don't forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Sources: 1, 2
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