The history of SIM cards dates to 1991 when Munich smart-card maker Giesecke & Devrient made the first-ever SIM card and sold 300 cards to Finish wireless network operator Radiolinja. Over these years, SIM cards have become ubiquitous and today allows over 7 billion people to connect via cellular networks spread worldwide.
The evolution of SIM cards closely aligns with the history of the Global System of mobile communication (GSM), which has developed protocols for second-generation cellular networks.
Contemporarily, GSM stands as the default global standard for mobile communications and is offering several iterations and updates, evolving the size and scope of SIM cards along with their utility.
SIM cards have been a potent part of GSM networking and are extensively used to store information required for authentication. By allowing you to connect with a GSM network, the usage of your phone – precisely your minutes, texts, and data – are processed to provide you with an accurate bill.
In simple terms, when it comes to your phone’s connection with any mobile network, SIM cards are essentially the brain of your device.
Over the span of 30 years, the shape of SIM cards has drastically evolved. The standard SIM card comes in three sizes depending upon the type of mobile phone you are using:
- Standard SIM card about 25mm x 15mm
- Micro SIM card about 15mm x 12mm.
- Nano SIM card about 12.3 x 8.8mm.
All phones need a SIM card, and with a SIM-only deal, you can get the compatible size of SIM from the official merchandise store. In contrast, contract phones are locked to particular carriers, and they will not support any of these SIMs.
The revolution in the telecommunication industry has brought to light a new type of SIM card called eSIM’. Let us investigate what an eSIM is and what does it do.
What Does a SIM Card Do?
A SIM card performs a range of functions. From identifying the phone contract you’ve signed up for towards providing data, calls, and text plans, a SIM card is no less than a Pandora box with magical things inside.
A SIM plan provides three complex numbers: ICCID serial number, International mobile subscribers identity number, and the Mobile Subscriber Integrated Services Digital Number (MSISDN).
There is plenty of other information like your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and Personal Unblocking Key (PUK). These numbers are exclusively designed to help you identify your number and the SIM plan you want to use.
A SIM usually comes in storage capacity ranging from 8KB to 256KB. This might look less when compared to other microchips, but it is enough to store up to 250 contacts right in your SIM.
So, if you have a new phone and planning to get yourself your first SIM card, then read this blog to help you decide. Before telling you about the best SIM-only deals across the UK, let us discuss a SIM-only deal.
What is eSIM and What Does It Do?
Where are we going in the future? The answer is simple: From Mobile Network Virtual Operators (MVNOs) like Talk Home who have escaped the hassle of handling physical hardware to Cloud technology which has diminished our reliance on physical drives for storage, physical SIM is also coming to an end.
The advent of eSIM is another breakthrough in the field of telecommunication. Previously, you had to physically insert a SIM in the SIM-tray of your phone to get services from mobile carriers. But today, you don’t need a physical SIM.
An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a mobile account number without having to use a physical SIM. eSIM is basically an embedded SIM, or eSIM, that cannot be removed physically. It is a programmable SIM card that is soldered to the motherboard.
An eSIM can perform all the functions of a physical SIM but the only difference is that you cannot physically remove it without breaking open or unsoldering the eSIM chipset.
This might seem problematic because you cannot physically remove the SIM when you want to switch networks while travelling abroad. However, the reality is a lot different.
Instead of waiting for a physical SIM from your local store, you can switch the network on your phone with the help of settings devoted to your eSIM in your phone. These settings allow you to switch between lines and carriers along with managing accounts.
So, if you are a dual-SIM user, eSIM technology supports multiple accounts – and switching between them is super easy. Moreover, all your existing services and tariffs will exist on your new eSIM.
Once an eSIM is activated on your phone, you can use the physical slot for another number if you want. Also, your physical SIM for the same mobile network will be de-activated once you start using an eSIM.
Read our guide to the Best Mobile Virtual Network Operator in UK to get more information about MVNOs.
Registration & Activation Process of eSIM
Follow these simple steps to activate eSIM on your mobile phone.
- Visit the nearest Customer Experience Center, Franchise or eligible retailer to register for eSIM on your number.
- After registration, you will receive a QR code on a voucher.
- Connect your Phone to the internet.
- Go to Settings > Cellular.
- Select “Add Cellular Plan” and the camera will automatically launch.
- Use your phone camera to scan the QR code.
- Your eSIM will be active in 5 minutes.
Pros and Cons of eSIM
In 2016, the eSIMs were presented in the prolegomena of the Mobile World Congress.
The eSIM has many advantages which include:
- It is easier to integrate an eSIM
- It is highly portable in nature
- We no longer have to wait for a postman or messenger
- You can associate it with more than one operator from different countries
- You can also associate the same number with different devices
- It is more reliable. You will not lose the eSIM as it won’t be necessary to have it physically.
- With one entry less, you end up saving more space.
- Help improve water availability
- Say Goodbye to SIM extractor.
- Changing mobile is complicated as it is hard to move SIM from one mobile to another.
- We cannot disconnect from networks. We will always have eSIMs in our mobile and we will always be connected to a network.
- It is easier for hackers to steal information because we don’t have a physical chip that we can replace.
Handsets That Are Compatible with eSIM
Mobile Phones companies are struggling hard to make their upcoming phones eSIM enabled. In the meantime, if you have any of these phones, you are in luck because your phone is eSIM enabled!
- iPhone XR
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Google Pixel 3
- Google Pixel 3a
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 4a
- Google Pixel 5
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
- Huawei P40
- Huawei P40 Pro
- Huawei P50 Pro
- Huawei Mate 40 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S20
- Samsung Galaxy S20+
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Oppo Reno 5A
- Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G
If you are an iPhone user, you should read our guide on the new Apple iPhone.
How eSIM Is Disrupting the Mobile Industry
The benefits offered by eSIMs are far-reaching. As technology has promised to revolutionise everything, everything from machine learning to the Internet of Things has changed.
But the arrival of eSIMs will have far-reaching implications for the telecommunications industry. Prior to this breakthrough invention, the relation between the operator and customer was physical. Consumers have to physically visit an outlet to buy a SIM card and get in-depth information about the product.
But with eSIM, consumers can dynamically choose their mobile operator and there will be less reason to visit the mobile store. As a result of this quick service, the consumers churn will increase as they will be prompted to switch between networks whenever they want.
Research reveals that mobile operators have benefited a lot from physical SIMs in the past. But the inception of eSIMs is fascinating that will change this sector, and above all, our lives.
Cellphones connect now in the air and Mobile companies like Apple and Samsung could directly select the network for you.
Furthermore, the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) could directly get affected by this as a predominantly online, wider MVNO market could benefit from it directly.
With new designs coming into the market, major mobile phone manufacturers will also shift from SIM tray to a phone with no tray as they want to incorporate better features like lightweight, high battery backup, and improved camera system by utilizing the space left by the SIM tray. This means eSIM is going to become a major component of these new phones.
In brief, as eSIMs will offer more choice to consumers and put pressure on pricing as many MVNOs in the market will compete on another level to provide the exclusive network service.
The Future of Wireless Service Providers and eSIM
Wireless communication is providing endless capabilities to mobile users thanks to technological innovation and the updated ecosystem. In our era, smartphones are getting smarter and today they are developed at an unmatched functionality and portability. Today, they are so accessible that nearly every person on Earth has some sort of mobile phone in his hands.
With the evolution in technology, even business owners are provided with a chance to experience the latest communication technologies firsthand. People today no longer need to carry a SIM card and another personal number with them.
From your mobile SIM card to your credit card, everything has been digitized now. Everyone who has a smartphone is probably connected to the world via cellular data. This requirement of connectivity is further supplemented by wireless eSIM technologies which have already been introduced in mobiles like iPhone XS, XR, and Google Pixel phones.
Modern technology is introducing plenty of improvements in the field of broadband connectivity and communication. The future innovations of eSIMs are looking extremely exciting today. For everyone who needs to stay connected, conduct business, or travel frequently, an eSIM will fulfil all their requirements and enable them to connect with their loved ones at odd hours.
If you have a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, car or drone, any device with eSIM feature will have super connectivity powers and will provide better access to new apps and technologies including the internet of things, edge computing and 5G.
Planning to move from 4G wireless technology to 5G, read our complete guide to 5G wireless technology.
The Way Forward – When Can I Start Using eSIM?
SIMs are not only essential to make a call, text but also an integral part of human-to-human interaction. The SIM we use today is a tool through which our everyday communication occurs, and you shouldn’t wait for a second to get yourself a new eSIM to keep yourself updated and in line with the trends of the 21st century.
Ultimately, until eSIM tech becomes the universal standard, many phones will still have a tray designated for a removable SIM card. There’s nothing wrong with using one of these phones — it’s just an older means to identify you on a carrier’s network.
Still, swapping out a SIM card can be troublesome given its size and delicate do-not-touch circuits. Managing an eSIM, then, is just easier for everyone, whether you’re switching phones or moving to another carrier.
To get learn more about the technological trends, you can also read our blog top 10 trends for telecom industry in 2022