First, we would define what the eSIM or embedded SIM actually is. It's a tiny chip that acts like the SIM card, but is, in contrast, built-in the smart device, and there is no possibility for its removal. If you need to change the data on the classic SIM card (number, phone company, network settings, etc.), than you should remove the card from the device and buy a new one. With the eSIM it's enough to delete the old data and load new ones, without changing the card or the entire device.
This is just one of the benefits of the technology, which is since 2010 strongly advocated by the GSM Association, the global association for mobile telecommunications. Of course, there are other initiatives of a similar nature, such as the ERA-GLONASS in Russia, or the eCall in the EU. These are also examples where the technology of Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Cards (eUICC) is already incorporated. The eSIM is based on the eUICC technology.
However, where the eSIMs can be used? Almost in any smart device that uses a standard SIM card, with a view of their use extended to other smart gadgets, and even vehicles or toys. The first step is made in 2012 when Apple created its Apple SIM, which was incorporated into the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3/4, and the iPad Pro tablets. Apple SIM had the functionality of the eSIM, but it wasn't that in the true sense of the word because it could be removed from the device. But, we admit that was a good start. that's something.
Today, the technology is slowly expanding and smart devices with the eSIM become differentiated. One of them is the Huawei Watch 2, which alongside the eSIM, has the option of using the Nano SIM card, for those who still do not believe in new technology. Samsung has its Gear S2 and S3 watches also equipped with eSIM. But, that would soon change, as are teleoperators (at the urging of the GSMA) began to accept and introduce the eSIM in their offers. We wish that tech giants begin to produce devices with this technology in a greater extent.
Why do we want that? Because that would be useful in many ways. First, the eSIM is half the size of Nano SIM, which means it occupies less space in devices, which can be used for other components. Furthermore, as we said, the eSIM is programmable, which means that you can change all important data if you are not satisfied with the services of your phone company, or you want to change the phone number. It would be possible by using the on-the-air (OTA) technology, which is actually a wireless method of sending encrypted data from one sender to the recipients who need to use these data. This is one of the GSMA ideas for introducing the eSIM standards on the market.
In addition, with the using of the eSIM you could avoid roaming, given that the chip is taking information from one phone company to another via OTA, especially if it is the same company that operates in several countries. There is also avoiding the cost of buying additional SIM cards or forcing to use Wi-Fi. After all, the eSIM will be safer inside the device than a conventional SIM, because, alongside the irreplacable battery, the devices don't need to have removable back cover, which could reduce the damage caused by drops, but also increase the level of water resistance.
But with all the positive sides, there are a few flaws. One is, of course, hacking the data before these are sent to users through OTA, which would mean that access to private data stored on the eSIM or on the device might be much simpler. Another con is that there's no known way how the eSIM could work in devices with the Dual SIM option. Nobody knows will it be a combination of two eSIMs and whether they are interdependent or not. It's also unclear is it possible to combine the eSIMs with some classic form of the SIM card in any way, or can this combination should work.
Last flaw lies in the responsibility of the owners. Namely, like the classic SIM, if your device is lost, you lose the eSIM, which means all the data on the network, the company and your contacts irretrievably. However, we believe that the GSMA along with manufacturers of gadgets and telecoms will find a solution to these problems, so that by the end of this decade eSIM may become a widespread technology.