Discover the World of eSIM Cards Today | TravelSim®
Embracing a New Era of Connectivity with eSIM Cards
According to Brian X. Chen, lead consumer technology writer at The New York Times, it won’t be long before “the physical SIM card will be no more”. This is apparently thanks to Apple’s decision to eliminate the SIM card tray from the iPhone 14, making it the first eSIM-only phone – the first, but definitely not the last, as where Apple leads others tend to follow.
Excited about the era of eSIM cards? We certainly are – and here’s why.
What is an eSIM?
The “e” in eSIM stands for “embedded”, as in “already embedded in your smartphone”. With a carrier profile installed to it, it functions in the same way as a physical SIM card – however, unlike a physical SIM card, it’s permanently attached to your device.
Instead of being swapped in and out like physical SIM cards, it can be activated remotely according to your needs.
The evolution of SIM cards
When looking at the tiny “subscriber identity modules” of today, it’s hard to remember that SIM cards were once the size of credit cards. SIM cards were developed by German company Giesecke+Devrient in the early 90s for people to connect to the Global System for Mobile Communications in a way that made them uniquely identifiable by the network provider.
From then on as the years passed they continued to shrink (as did the phones that housed them) until we reached the nano SIMs that we’re familiar with.
The chip itself has actually remained the same size throughout this evolution – it is instead the plastic border surrounding it that has changed shape, being whittled down to a point where only the key component remains.
Not only has this freed up space within the phone for other things, but it’s reduced the waste involved in the production process. With this in mind, eSIMs appear to be the natural next step in this development.
The benefits of eSIMs
So what are the benefits of eSIM cards? What do they provide that traditional SIM cards don’t or can’t? Let’s start with the actual cards themselves, before delving into what they can do.
For one thing, eSIMs eliminate the physical element of switching SIMs. With an eSIM there’s no need to purchase a SIM card in person, or buy one online and wait for it to arrive, and then fiddle with tiny trays as you swap it in and out. This is great for anyone who might have difficulty with delicate tasks – whether from illness, old age, or disability.
There’s also the fact that eSIMs create far less waste than traditional SIMs. When a new SIM card is needed for your phone, you need to remove and dispose of the old one for security reasons. Previously the advice was that you chop your SIM into pieces with scissors to prevent your data from being stolen.
Nowadays there are recycling facilities available, where the valuable metals from SIM cards can be recovered and reused – but these services are not always widely used due to the cost and efficiency of the process.
Keeping with the eco-friendly theme – because eSIMs can be downloaded and activated via QR codes and other online methods, they don’t need physical distribution and delivery.
This means less vans on the road, which leads to less fumes in the air – and less logistics involved in purchasing them. It may be a drop in the ocean in terms of trying to save the planet – but hey, everyone has to start somewhere.
So those are some of the physical and systematic benefits of eSIMs of SIM cards – let’s take a look at what they actually do.
eSIMs vs traditional SIM cards: what are the differences?
Advantages of eSIMs when traveling
The main area where eSIMs are making waves is the travel industry. Prepaid SIM cards have been used for travel for a long time, and eSIMs only make the process quicker and easier.
The fact that they can be reprogrammed remotely makes for easy switching between carriers, which is great if you regularly travel internationally – say goodbye to hunting down a new SIM card store every time you cross a border.
You run less of a risk of finding yourself stranded without an internet connection or signal. And because they can’t be physically removed from your phone they’re more secure and less susceptible to theft.
Dual SIM functionality
Useful both for travel and for day-to-day use, the dual SIM functionality that eSIMs allow for means that you can have two phone numbers answering to the same device.
Keep your personal number attached to your physical SIM, and add a second data plan to your eSIM for whatever purpose you need – such as a separate business number, or as a way to be contacted when traveling.
One of the main reasons that people use eSIMs for travel is that they help to keep roaming costs down. They can give you affordable access to hundreds of networks across the globe, and can be up to 85% cheaper than roaming with your own carrier.
Last year travelers in the UK were hit with an estimated £539 million in unexpected roaming charges – that’s one way to ruin a holiday, and something that eSIMs can help to avoid.
While it may be more expensive to initially purchase an eSIM than a SIM card, the savings over time and the flexibility that comes with them more than make up for it.
How do you set up your eSIM?
Once you’ve found the network provider with the eSIM package that works for you, you’ll most likely be sent a QR code to scan. Enter the cellular data section of your settings and select the option to add a plan. This will then provide you with the steps to carry out to activate your eSIM, which will vary slightly depending on your device.
Keep in mind, you’ll likely need the latest version of whatever software your phone is operating on.
If you intend to use your eSIM for travel, make sure your roaming is switched on and you’ve selected your chosen eSIM provider as your carrier. Then, when using your everyday SIM, switch off your roaming again. When traveling, you will still be able to receive texts and calls to your every day SIM, but data roaming needs to be switched off to make sure you avoid unnecessary data usage.
Multiple eSIMs can be installed on one phone, and swapped between by selecting different data carriers in your settings. You can’t download the same eSIM to multiple devices, but you can wipe the one that’s currently on your phone, and then use the same QR code to activate it on a different device.
The future is here – embrace the eSIM revolution
- It looks like eSIMs are the future, and we’re just fine with that
- They give you the flexibility to run multiple numbers from one device
- They cut down on wasted materials and leave more space in your smartphone
- They can save you money and time while traveling and working internationally
- They’re easy to install, activate and upgrade
We’re convinced. Are you?
Purchasing an eSIM with TravelSim
Purchase your TravelSim eSIM today. Never worry about roaming charges again – stay connected, save money, and enjoy your travels with an eSIM.