We had the opportunity to try eSIM on a trip to the United States. A good way to remind us that builders should adopt this technology much faster.
And if we removed the SIM card?
Originally was the SIM (for Subscriber Identity Module). It is it that allows you to link a smartphone to the data of the package of its user. At the time, there were even some other important data on this little chip, like his repertoire (or at least part of his repertoire for those who had a lot of contacts).
For reasons of finesse and place in the phone, this SIM card has since melted, passing over the years in microSIM and nanoSIM formats. The nanoSIM is the format used today by French operators and is content with the bare minimum because the chip is barely surrounded by plastic. So it's difficult to gain more space at this level … unless you make it disappear completely.
Remove the SIM card
We all use SIM cards, but are they really necessary? Not really since some have already managed to get rid of it. ESIM (or virtual SIM card) is already available in more than twenty countries, especially in the United States. No manufacturer is yet fully reliant on this technology, but some have decided to add eSIM to their smartphones in addition to the usual nanoSIM ports to allow the development of technology. This is the case, for example, of Apple on its iPhone XR and XS, but also of Google with Pixel 3 (but only for some operators, the goal being essentially to take advantage of the Google Fi network).
Thus, it is possible, by owning the right smartphone and subscribing to the right phone package, to take advantage of a mobile offer by moving away completely from the physical SIM card. As part of a trip to California, on the good advice of a colleague from 01net, I took advantage of having an iPhone on hand (if not have a Free Mobile plan) to not have to pay roaming charges on my package.
ESIM, practical, but limited
If I preferred this solution, it is above all for its simplicity and to be sure to be able to enjoy my smartphone during my stopover, at a time when I did not have the opportunity to go out from the airport to go to an operator's shop. So I needed a package that would be operational the day I left. Here is the list of countries with at least one eSIM compatible operator:
United Arab Emirates
In the United States, three operators support eSIM: AT & T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. The first two offer prepaid offers from $ 40 (for 3 GB of data, SMS and unlimited local calls) while the third packages start at $ 30 (for 2 GB + SMS and calls). For economic reasons, it is this option that I chose, but depending on your preferences, it is quite possible to opt for another operator.
T-Mobile also has the advantage of offering an application available on the App Store to subscribe directly to the package and configure the iPhone. Among other operators, it is generally necessary to subscribe to a package online or shop, then scan a QR Code and then associate with the phone.
How to subscribe to an American package with its eSIM on iOS?
Once the T-Mobile eSIM application has been downloaded, simply launch it and be guided by the instructions on the screen. You must therefore give an e-mail address, subscribe to a phone plan (30, 40 or 70 dollars depending on your needs), then fill in some information about the place of use of the package and your bank details to settle the flat rate.
Once these few formalities are completed, the application asks you to create a PIN code to protect your new eSIM card (as on a traditional card so), then redirects you to the settings of the iPhone to configure everything in one click . T-Mobile then gives you your new phone number, which you can use during your stay.
The use of eSIM is very simple and is particularly useful when you need a phone line quickly.
Technology not yet adopted
In other words, eSIM only offers advantages for the end consumer. However, both manufacturers and operators are dragging on to integrate this technology. In France, Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom have already announced that they are actively working to offer this service to their customers. On the side of Android manufacturers, none has for the moment shown its willingness to integrate this type of technology in their smartphones.
And this is a big problem since the operators generally have little interest in deploying the eSIM (remember that SIM cards are usually billed between 5 and 10 euros to customers) and that if the brands do not grow its deployment, we could still wait before seeing a popularization of this technology.
With the advent of foldable smartphones, finesse will begin to become an important element and the removal of unnecessary items an obligation for builders. So we imagine that this should accelerate the arrival of the eSIM, pushing more operators to adopt it.