eSIM -

How will eSIM transform the Mobile Industry

The traditional SIM card has been a central part of digital mobile communications for 30 years. This unassuming piece of plastic has been responsible for controlling access to GSM mobile networks worldwide, helping to protect assets worth over a trillion dollars per year.

However, SIM technology is currently undergoing a major evolution, called Embedded SIM or ‘eSIM’ cards. Instead of receiving then inserting a physical SIM card into your mobile phone to get it connected, consumers will download a ‘SIM’ directly into their device, anytime, anywhere.


There are many advantages of using eSIM technology in the Machine to Machine/Internet of Things and Consumer markets.
Millions of M2M/IoT devices as diverse as vending machines, energy meters and connected cars will no longer need a costly engineering visit just to change mobile service provider.

There are also plenty of Consumer eSIM Use Cases. Smaller form-factor devices such as smartwatches and wearables become possible. Larger devices like smartphones could benefit from greater battery capacity from using the space released by removing the SIM tray.

Dual-SIM handsets such as the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and XS Max with nano-SIM card and eSIM support are also driving the technology into the mainstream. It’s also expected to transform how consumers buy and manage their subscriptions and mobile data usage in the near future.

With over 6 billion traditional SIM cards shipped annually, eSIM will eventually eliminate the costs and logistics of physical card procurement and distribution for mobile network operators – whilst at the same time reducing environmental impact.


Over the last few years, the GSM Association (GSMA) has been working with over 90 major players in the mobile industry. Their aim is to develop a common, global eSIM specification and avoid the spread of potentially incompatible eSIM technologies. This is actually two specification suites. One for M2M use, and another for Consumer applications.

These specifications are now being widely adopted in the market. Over 100 mobile network operators and all major device manufacturers including Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft now support eSIM technology.

It is expected that traditional SIM cards will be replaced entirely within as little as 5-10 years.