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The number of eSIMs installed in devices will increase from 1.2 billion in 2021 to 3.4 billion in 2025, mostly thanks to Apple and Google devices, according to a study conducted by Juniper Research.

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eSIMs are small modules embedded directly into devices that provide cellular connectivity by storing multiple network operator profiles, removing the need for a physical SIM card in an ejecting tray.

The adoption of eSIMs in devices is expected to increase 180 percent by 2025, with as much as 94 percent of global eSIM installations being driven by the consumer electronics sector. Other contributors include the industrial and public sectors.

Although widespread adoption is reliant on network operators, Apple and Google devices are highlighted as the most important drivers in the adoption of eSIM frameworks, accelerating the growth of the technology in the industrial and public sectors. The research paper urges device manufacturers to place more pressure on operators to support eSIM frameworks and accelerate market maturation.

Apple has pioneered the commercialization of eSIM technology since the launch of the cellular Apple Watch Series 3. eSIM has since proliferated to the iPad Pro and iPhone in 2018.

The upcoming iOS 14.5 update is also expected to add support for dual 5G-band using the physical SIM as well as the eSIM chip. This functionality was previously only available in mainland China.

eSIM adoption by more carriers is likely to lead to the eventual removal of the SIM card tray on the iPhone and create more internal space, but as shown by the limited support for eSIM on cellular versions of the Apple Watch in some regions, there is still some way to go before the technology has truly widespread use.

Article Link: Apple and Google Leading the Way on eSIM Adoption
 
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NightFox

macrumors 68020
May 10, 2005
2,495
2,318
Shropshire, UK
I did look at asking my provider (O2 UK) for an eSIM after I got my iPhone 12 Pro, but they're asking people to only contact them for urgent queries during Covid. However, it got me wondering if there's any compelling reason to switch to eSIM, or is it something I'd come to regret, for example when it came to upgrading my phone? Is that a seamless process, or is it one of those things where provider's systems crash for two days when a new iPhone is launched?
 
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mtneer

macrumors 68040
Sep 15, 2012
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2,529
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
 
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WoodpeckerBaby

macrumors 65816
Aug 17, 2016
1,158
986
Won’t happen unless China relaxes the ban on eSIM for primary mobile phones. They only allow it for smart watches and other secondary devices.

Reason is eSIM is harder to regulate and harder to track. It blurs the uniqueness of the subscriber from the regulators. You need to keep a dynamic database of who is which identity at every moment in time.

This leads to fraud and spam.
 
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cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
21,850
25,351
California
I did look at asking my provider (O2 UK) for an eSIM after I got my iPhone 12 Pro, but they're asking people to only contact them for urgent queries during Covid. However, it got me wondering if there's any compelling reason to switch to eSIM, or is it something I'd come to regret, for example when it came to upgrading my phone? Is that a seamless process, or is it one of those things where provider's systems crash for two days when a new iPhone is launched?

It depends on your carrier, but in my experience eSIM was a bit of a pain when upgrading my phone a year and a half ago. I had to call the carrier and have them send me a code. Much easier to just move a physical sim.

I think I read somewhere that this may be resolved now, and that when activating your new phone now it can move the esim over from the old? Not sure.
 
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cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
21,850
25,351
California
Won’t happen unless China relaxes the ban on eSIM for primary mobile phones. They only allow it for smart watches and other secondary devices.

Reason is eSIM is harder to regulate and harder to track. It blurs the uniqueness of the subscriber from the regulators. You need to keep a dynamic database of who is which identity at every moment in time.

This leads to fraud and spam.

Why not? Apple already makes phones with different SIM configuration just for China. That’s why everyone else gets esim support, but China phones have 2 physical sim slots.
 
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WoodpeckerBaby

macrumors 65816
Aug 17, 2016
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Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
It will be like switching your broadband subscription to a new physical location. Like when you move, etc. It’s gonna be long waits at the customer service line that are always “experiencing higher than normal volumes right now, please call back later or visite our website”.
 
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edk99

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2009
848
1,385
FL
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
I agree but maybe I'm not that familiar how to move from phone to phone as easy as moving a physical SIM from one phone to another. Seems more of a pain then what it is worth. Maybe having my primary line as a physical SIM and a temporary one like when out of the country as an eSIM is worth it. I'll just stick with a physical SIM for now.
 
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Benjamin Nabulsi

Contributor
Apr 28, 2020
117
171
AT&T didn't do a good job making this easier, you have to go to the store and hope to find a card that has the QR code which always out of stock. they could make the process easier by sending the card by mail or allow generate it online.

eSim is not just great for a second line but also for making it hard for whoever steals the phone to swipe the sim.

update att prepaid was able to switch my phone esim but it was awkward, gave them the serial number and the call got disconnected and then i went to add cellular plan and it showed up there.
 

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BeefCake 15

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2015
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near Boston, MA
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
You can erase the esim data within the phone, don't need the cell company to do it.
 
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lenard

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2007
554
347
Raleigh NC
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
Not any more, when I upgraded last November the upgrade process transferred my esim from the old phone to the new phone.
 
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ian87w

macrumors 68030
Feb 22, 2020
2,873
3,608
Indonesia
In my country, despite iPhones and some flagship Galaxies having eSIM for sometime already, only one carrier supports it, and it’s not even the top 3 carrier. The top 3 not only don’t have eSIM support, but don’t even support VoLTE. Sometimes I wonder what are these carriers doing. Better coverage? Nope. Better speed? Nope. All they do is just selling new numbers with promos for new accounts, but zero efforts to actually retain users.
 
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ksec

macrumors 68000
Dec 23, 2015
1,718
1,816
Won’t happen unless China relaxes the ban on eSIM for primary mobile phones. They only allow it for smart watches and other secondary devices.

Reason is eSIM is harder to regulate and harder to track. It blurs the uniqueness of the subscriber from the regulators. You need to keep a dynamic database of who is which identity at every moment in time.

This leads to fraud and spam.

They already announced a plan on eSim. Which if I remember correctly starts rolling out in 2023.

A lot of the eSim adoption problem has to do with the current carrier infrastructure just aren't adopted to eSim. So there are lots of work and testing going on before this is slowly rolled out. You see one off, Pay as you Go or Charger / Travel Sim adopting eSim first.
 
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tranceking26

macrumors 65816
Apr 16, 2013
1,123
982
I hope my network eventually gets support. I won't hold my breath though, all these years and they still don't even have visual voicemail. :(
 
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axantas

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2015
558
528
Home
I did look at asking my provider (O2 UK) for an eSIM after I got my iPhone 12 Pro, but they're asking people to only contact them for urgent queries during Covid. However, it got me wondering if there's any compelling reason to switch to eSIM, or is it something I'd come to regret, for example when it came to upgrading my phone? Is that a seamless process, or is it one of those things where provider's systems crash for two days when a new iPhone is launched?
Be VERY cautios about that hyped esim thing.
I can only speak about my case in Switzerland, but I recently wanted to switch my esim (Prepaid) from an iPhone X to a 12. Easy thing, I do have that scannable code. But I was wrong. The code is (depending on carrier) only valid ONE TIME. Removing and adding the esim means, that I have to visit their store (for security reason) and get another code. The code cannot be provided online (for security reason). I have to get another piece of plastic with a new code on it. Furthermore a change of esim can only be done in your providers home network - impossible during roaming.

Owning a real SIM ist just pop out pop in, finished. esim ties you - depending on your provider - to one device, unless you are granted an audience in a shop of your preferred provider and maybe pay for the new plastic.

So: also be cautious about a local carrier holiday esim in your primary slot. You may not be able to add your home-esim anymore without that audience.

I am very disappointed by that esim hype. Try to avoid it as long as I can...
 
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ian87w

macrumors 68030
Feb 22, 2020
2,873
3,608
Indonesia
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
Hmm, eSIM would be very easy if you are switching carriers. You just scan in the new carrier’s eSIM QR code.

You might mean switching phones. I believe it is easy to switch between iPhones.

iPhones to Android or vice versa, that might be tricky. I don’t know if it’s possible, but maybe one can move it to physical SIM first. I asked the carrier who supports eSIM in my country at that carrier’s store, the lady said they can move eSIM to physical SIM back n forth quite easily on the spot, and she said they do it all the time for people, going back n forth. So I guess it depends on the carrier, how easy they actually want it for their own customers.
 
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ian87w

macrumors 68030
Feb 22, 2020
2,873
3,608
Indonesia
Be VERY cautios about that hyped esim thing.
I can only speak about my case in Switzerland, but I recently wanted to switch my esim (Prepaid) from an iPhone X to a 12. Easy thing, I do have that scannable code. But I was wrong. The code is (depending on carrier) only valid ONE TIME. Removing and adding the esim means, that I have to visit their store (for security reason) and get another code. The code cannot be provided online (for security reason). I have to get another piece of plastic with a new code on it. Furthermore a change of esim can only be done in your providers home network - impossible during roaming.

Owning a real SIM ist just pop out pop in, finished. esim ties you - depending on your provider - to one device, unless you are granted an audience in a shop of your preferred provider and maybe pay for the new plastic.

So: also be cautious about a local carrier holiday esim in your primary slot. You may not be able to add your home-esim anymore without that audience.

I am somewhat disappointed by that esim hype. Try to avoid it as long as I can...
Wow, that’s unfortunate. Looks like in the end, it’s up to the carrier’s willingness to make it easy for people or not. And it seems like majority of carriers in most countries are not interested in making things easy for customers.
 
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iGeek2019

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2019
288
290
United Kingdom
eSIM is great but I had a ‘bad’ experience earlier on in the year-I switched from iPhone SE (2020) to an XR and my phone company disconnected my eSIM leaving me with no service until a replacement physical sim arrived.

Granted they gave me a bill credit and I’m lucky enough to have people around me but had I been alone with no support circle I dread to think what would have happened if I’d had an accident.
 
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rjohnstone

macrumors 68040
Dec 28, 2007
3,691
3,950
PHX, AZ.
AT&T didn't do a good job making this easier, you have to go to the store and hope to find a card that has the QR code which always out of stock. they could make the process easier by sending the card by mail or allow generate it online.

eSim is not just great for a second line but also for making it hard for whoever steals the phone to swipe the sim.
AT&T is a joke with eSIM support.
They have requested eSIM functionality be disabled on all Samsung products with the exception of the Galaxy Watch series.
 
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mtneer

macrumors 68040
Sep 15, 2012
3,084
2,529
Hmm, eSIM would be very easy if you are switching carriers. You just scan in the new carrier’s eSIM QR code.

In theory, yes. In my lived experience, I had to visit multiple local carrier stores trying to find the QR card, which none of them had in stock. Then I had to call the carrier and have them ship the QR code to my home address and that took a week.
 
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name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
1,008
664
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?
eSim as a technology works well. The friction is in the UI for interaction with it. Both the Apple UI and the app UI (in all the app' I've tried) are just horrible!
Conceptually switching is really easy (modulo legal/contract issues). The model for travel is: you're visiting somewhere, you download an app that supports that region, you launch the app, buy a package of some sort, and you're connected.

Where things get messy (but these are UI issues, not "making it hard to switch" issues, is a variety of idiocies.
The apps (again all the ones I tried) don't allow you to buy a connection IN ADVANCE of when you need it, so you're stuck at the airport trying to connect the eSIM app to its home base via the lousy 10 minutes of free WiFi that doesn't work. Apple has a tremendously complicated set of rules for when the number associated with each SIM will be utilized; far better would be to provide, unless you go to "advanced options" a few simple choices: "I'm traveling; I have a work sim and a home sim; I have a main sim and an emergency backup sim" which set things at a reasonable base level.

But apart from all that, it's pretty glorious, much like Google Fi. Visit somewhere, buy two weeks of eSIM data, move from country to country in the region, and you always have connectivity. What's not to like?
There's certainly no nonsense with calling carriers, QR codes, and suchlike.
 
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imlynxy

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2012
1,331
515
AT&T is a joke with eSIM support.
They have requested eSIM functionality be disabled on all Samsung products with the exception of the Galaxy Watch series.
OMG, I was about to say the same.

My true story: Switched to Att , 2 hours with CS to activate iPhone 12 PRO with eSIM and for the other 3 hours couldn’t activate Apple Watch(app failed). Gave up and came back to TMUS.

Too big to fail?
 
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Reason077

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2007
2,590
1,359
Not sure if this is a good idea. Wouldn't eSim just add more friction for a consumer looking to switch carriers? Earlier one could just pop a new card into an unlocked device and be on their way, but now they have to call their carrier and having to wait/ deal with QR code cards and other delays?

I’m not sure how eSIMs work, exactly, but I agree. I often want to move SIM cards around between different devices. While it would be convenient to not have to deal with the physical cards, it would need to be easy and near-instantaneous to move them back and forth.
 
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