A lot of buzz has surrounded the embedded SIM or eSIm. It is hoped that embedded Sim would be a part of cellular handsets. Most reports do not see the big giants like Apple, Huawei, and Samsung introduce embedded Sim anytime before 2019. Some reports even suggest that these companies won’t introduce eSims until 2021.
eSim incorporation is likely to start first with Tier 2 and Tier 3 handset suppliers to introduce eSims at a small scale first to see how the market reacts. Right now, there are no eSims in smartphones which have telecom functionality. The embedded Sim market can expand as much as nine-fold from its humble beginning of 108.9 million shipments (in 2016) to 986 million by 2021, according to some researchers. A lot of the initial growth is from non-handset environments like consumer electronics, wearables, and Internet of Things (IoT). In these devices, eSim can easily be used without having to deal with legacy issues. Apple and Huawei have not commented on their eSim plans. Samsung has also denied making any comments. In March 2015, the GSMA said at the Mobile World Congress that it was in the process of working with mobile device manufacturers, mobile network operators, and SIM vendors to build a general, global specification for remote management, and over-the-air provisioning of connectivity to consumer devices. The standardization of eSIMs is being done in stages within the GSMA. The third phase is expected later this year. Right now, only some eSim devices are there apart from some Apple iPad Pro, machine-to-machine implementations, and some smartwatches. Microsoft said in 2016 that its platform would give support for the eSIM specification. Gemalto partnered with Microsoft to introduced eSIM technology on Windows 10. Smartphone manufacturers seem to be waiting for the GSMA to provide completed standards. The removable SIM card cannot be replaced just like that. But, the importance of the conventional SIMs we use will decrease over time. In 2016, there were around 5.4 shipments of removable SIM. This figure is expected to go down to 5.1 billion by 2011. eSim will improve the user experience, provide greater flexibility, increase the number of connected devices, and decrease the cost of connected products. On the network operator side, eSim will reduce SIM handling, and costs related to integration. For the suppliers of SIM card, embedded SIM will provide new market opportunities in the connected car, IoT, and M2M. According to a report, e-SIM will begin to enter 4G smartphone next year, but in a very limited amount. In addition to mobile phone manufacturers, such as AT & T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone and other large operators are also involved in the e-SIM program.
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