Will the eSIM become mainstream?

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The iPhone XS features an eSIM, will this push it into the mainstream category?

Apple recently launched the new range of iPhones for 2018, it is a significant time for the mobile industry. While many Android manufacturers have a massive competition with pricing and features, Apple has a great retention rate. 

It gives mobile operators the chance to tie more people to contracts while they can, higher iPhone prices make it less affordable for people to get unlocked handsets and SIM-only tariffs.

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The new iPhones have introduced the eSIM, already available on certain Android phones, it hasn’t really taken off with providers yet. 

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It’s no secret that iPhones are very powerful at making features go mainstream, for example, NFC has been available on Android phones for years, the iPhone is what made it a mainstream feature when it came out with Apple Pay. That’s why many feel that the eSIM is about to go mainstream.

Apple has been supporting and using the eSIM previously, the iPad Air 2 and the Apple Watch had eSIM’s.

It's a big move from Apple

“Introducing dual SIMs in all markets is a bold move by Apple and something that will give mobile operators a lot to think about. Having pioneered the technology on the iPad and Watch, it was only a matter of time before Apple brought it to the iPhone,” says Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. He also claimed “The potential for new business models is limited while Apple continues to offer a physical SIM card slot alongside the e-SIM capability, but if it eventually decides to get rid of the physical SIM it will have significant implications for how customers buy airtime in the future.” (Credit – Techradar)

Operators will most likely be reluctant to follow the trend of eSIM technology, after all, the biggest reason people stay with their SIM is that it’s very hard to switch networks. Many operators allow customers to change or upgrade their data allowance if they need to. Having an eSIM allows customers to choose from a variety of different tariffs from other providers.

A great example of how it would work would be someone being able to quickly change the network if they go into an area where coverage is not great on their main provider’s service. This may cause concerns for operators as it allows the consumer to pay less and switch from their networks easily, something they often aim to avoid.

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It could be a blessing in disguise for operators

Ofcom recently made it easier for consumers to leave their operators, it can be as simple as sending a text message. If providers to embrace the change to the eSIM, they can potentially introduce brand new service types, new avenues for revenue and even discounted deals to beat competitors. 

The biggest sector the eSIM effects is Data Roaming. Roaming can be changed so that when the customer is abroad, they can get a short term deal with one of the local operators. It gives mobile phones dual-sim functionality which emerging markets such as India will definitely appreciate.

It's only a matter of time

The iPhone is no doubt a phone that can push any feature/function into the mainstream, just look at wireless charging now! It is just a matter of time until the eSIM is widely used/appreciated, we expect operators to take advantage early and offer their services. 

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