eSIM Guide: Everything you need to know about eSIM, its drawbacks, advantages & usage

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SIM cards have been around for as long as cellphones have been in use, that is almost 30 years now. Like every other thing, SIM cards have also evolved. They have not only reduced in size, but now their usage is changing as well. Physical SIM cards have to be inserted into the slot given on your smartphone, but now we are getting familiar with eSIM, ones that are not physical cards but embedded ones. Scroll down to learn more about eSIM and its usage.

What is an eSIM?

eSIM stands for Embedded SIM. This SIM allows you to connect to your carrier’s network without a physical SIM card. An eSIM can be configured entirely through software instead.

It is a programmable chip that is built into your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. An eSIM also serves the same purpose as a physical SIM, except that it is carrier independent and can be programmed via software instead.

If you are using an eSIM, switching between providers is easy as all one has to do is obtain a configuration file and activate it on the device. Service providers refer to this as an eSIM profile and offer it as a QR code that one can scan to download.

eSIM has witnessed a revolution with the launch of the Apple iPhone 14 Series as the brand has announced that the US-bound models will no longer use physical SIM cards.

Benefits of an eSIM

  • It leaves no physical footprint.
  • Valuable SIM card slot space is freed.
  • eSIM allows one to store multiple carrier profiles on one’s smartphone and switch between them on the fly.
  • No SIM card slots also prevent any kind of water/dust ingress into the device.

Drawbacks of an eSIM

All carriers still don’t support eSIM. In India, dual SIM smartphones have at least one physical SIM card slot along with one eSIM card support.

eSIM functionality is mostly found on high-end expensive devices that can’t be afforded by everyone in countries like India.

Devices with eSIM capability

Google and Apple are among the first two companies that offer eSIM. Google started eSIM with Pixel 2 in 2017 and Apple with iPhone XS in 2018. Samsung was the third one and it started giving eSIM with Galaxy S and Note lineup.

With time, eSIM technology has started trickling down to lower segments as well. Google Pixel 6a offers eSIM functionality too now while manufacturers like Xiaomi, Realme, and OnePlus have still not migrated from physical SIM cards.

If we talk about smartwatches, then Samsung was the first to offer eSIM functionality. In today’s day, almost all smartwatches come with cellular capabilities and use eSIM. In terms of tablets, Galaxy Book Go and Surface Pro X are eSIM compatible.

Shivangi AgarwalShivangi Agarwal
Shivangi is an honours graduate in English from Delhi University with a passion for reading and writing. Always keen to know more about the latest gadgets, when she is not reading about tech, she loves listening to Hindi music and grooving to the latest Hindi beats.

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