It is no surprise that technology trends has continued to transform telecommunications in variety of ways. From Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Big Data to 5G, Cyber Attacks, Cyber Security and Resilience.
The electronic Subscriber’s Identified Module (e-SIM) technology trial was approved by the Nigeria’s telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
As the regulator, NCC is saddled with the responsibility to type-approve telecoms technologies and equipment before their deployment in Nigeria in the best interest of the country.
According to the Telco, spearheading e-SIM adoption in Nigeria is part of an efforts to enable digital economy as well as its commitment to delivering the benefits of new digital world to customers.
In a statement made available to Business Remarks the company’s secretary, Uto Ukpanah noted that the trial which kicked off on Wednesday will run for one year on a first come first served basis to a limited number of subscribers who owned compatible devices.
The move has further positioned and strengthen MTN in its continued drive to lead digital transformation, improve customer experience and maintain the high quality of services for its customers.
How its works.
An e-SIM is an embedded SIM card. It is a smaller, built-in version of the traditional SIM card. It’s a replacement for the physical SIM card that currently connects phones to a mobile network, the eSIM is a lot smaller.
Unlike a SIM card, MUO reported the e-SIM is fixed onto the phone’s (or other device’s) motherboard. You don’t need to insert it, and you can’t remove it. That doesn’t mean you can’t switch numbers or change carriers, though, since the information on the eSIM is rewritable.
In fact, switching or setting it up might even be easier. You don’t have to wait for a new SIM to be delivered to your house; it could all happen instantly with just a quick phone call.
e-SIM cards use the same tech, and run on the same GSM networks that normal SIMs use.
To use an e-SIM you’ll need to be with a carrier that offers it, and have a compatible phone. Carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, or EE in the UK, along with over 85 more worldwide offer e-SIM support.
e-SIM cards are currently used to bring dual SIM capability to smartphones including the iPhone 11 range, and the Pixel 3, as well as in smaller devices like the Apple Watch.
In time it’s likely that all phones and tablets will switch to using e-SIM. Its much smaller size means that it could also become a common feature in internet-of-Things devices, although there’s an even newer and vastly smaller tech called iSIM just around the corner.
How to Set Up an e-SIM Card
Connecting e-SIM depends what device you’ve got, and whether you bought it with a cellular plan or added your plan separately. Buy the plan separately and you’ll get an eSIM activation card that includes a QR code that you need to scan on your phone.
On iPhone go to Settings > Cellular (or Mobile Data) > Add Cellular Plan then scan the code when prompted.
On Android you can set up your e-SIM at Settings > Network & internet > Add. Follow the onscreen instructions and choose Use 2 Numbers when prompted. This may of course differ depending on which Android version and phone you’ve got.
Buy a Pixel on Google Fi and your e-SIM details will be automatically tied to your account.
Your Apple Watch will come with the e-SIM preconfigured when you buy it with a plan, or you can add the details through the Apple Watch app if you don’t. On a Samsung Galaxy Watch you must complete the setup through a mobile app on your phone.
Dual SIM devices need to support DSDS (Dual SIM, Dual Standby) in order to offer full functionality. This is available on the iPhone, and in Android 10. DSDS enables both SIMs to connect to a network at the same time. When you set it up, you’ll need to choose which line to use as your default line.
Benefits e-SIM offers
The main benefit to the e-SIM is that it’s really small. Nano SIMs already seem pretty small, but with a surface area of 108.24mm² (0.17 square inches) they’re actually more than three times larger than an e-SIM, which measures just 30mm² (0.05 square inches).
That’s before we even factor in the additional size of the SIM tray, and the card reader inside the device. These are no longer needed with the embedded technology.
This not only allows extra room for other components, or perhaps a larger battery, it also enables manufacturers to rejig the internal layout of their devices. An e-SIM doesn’t need to be near the edge of the phone and could make waterproofing devices even easier.
There are also benefits for the users. No fiddly cards to work with, and no need to find a paperclip if you ever need to extract the SIM tray.
e-SIMs enable devices to easily offer dual SIM capabilities. This is ideal if you want to keep separate personal and work numbers, or if you’re travelling overseas.
Dual SIM phones make it much easier to hop onto a local network and avoid the expensive roaming fees you’d expect to pay on your usual plan.
What MTN says…
Following its announcement, MTN Nigeria says subscribers can have multiple devices and numbers linked to their e-SIM profile on the network to enable synchronization of information in customers’ profile.
This new technology is particularly rolled out for business owners and frequent travelers or tourists in Nigeria as the technology affords them easy access to managing business and personal profiles as well as their internet data.
Subscribers might be required to pay a certain subscription fee as the on-boarding requirements are same as are required for a physical SIM registration.
This e-SIM is inbuilt into Smartphone, devices and wearables as your contacts might get saved to a cloud based system should you misplace your device for easy retrievals.
Devices that currently support e-SIM
The iPhone 11 series, plus the older iPhone XS and XR devices use an eSIM alongside a nano SIM. Pixel phones since the Pixel 2 have the same setup, although is not supported everywhere—it’s best if you use Google Fi.
As for other devices, the cellular versions of the Apple Watch, Samsung Watch, and Huawei Watch 2 are among those that use e-SIM. There’s e-SIM support in Windows 10 as well, so always-connected laptops may well become a more common sight in future.
The e-SIM is very much the future for smartphones and smart devices