Hey Siri, how do I insert a SIM card into my phone?
The continuing digital advancements have significantly accelerated over the last few years. When you think about it, you can now have a digital bank card, loyalty card, digital receipts, digital contracts, and the list goes on and on.
If we look closer at the mobile industry, it’s mobile phones that have enabled and brought so much to these digital advancements. They themselves evolved and advanced dramatically since their first appearance in the 1980s.
From a simple and clunky device with only one feature of mobile calling enabled by a full-size SIM card to the superfast, ultralight handset that not only allows us to communicate with others but also play games, make payments, monitor our heart rate and stream high-resolution videos among many others. Let’s be honest, we can get a lot of things done on our mobile phones these days.
That being said, have you ever questioned the need to pop out this tiny plastic SIM card out of a bank-card-sized card, and going through this hideous exercise of opening the SIM card tray and placing the SIM card in to get the phone connected? You suddenly feel like you are working in a lab with microscopic components, and the concentration level is going through the roof. The experience gets even better when you realise you do not have the pin to open the SIM tray! You start desperately searching through your pockets for something small enough to open the tray. You try your keys for some reason, but you fail miserably. Then, you start asking people around you “Excuse me, do you have a SIM pin?”. I have been there. And I have seen quite a few confused faces upon asking that random question.
There is also the SIM card delivery process and all the inconvenience associated with it. I once received a new phone but not the SIM card as it was shipped in a separate package. I’d thought the SIM might have been lost in the mail as I’d waited for a few days, but nothing had arrived. I’d submitted a request for a replacement SIM, but then the first one arrived. I tried it but, of course, it didn’t work. I had to wait a few more days for the second SIM to arrive but that one also didn’t work. The SIM activation failed, so they had to send another replacement. Aaargh… fun times!
After all those experiences, I kept asking myself the question “Why don’t we have a digital SIM card?”. But, admittedly, I am a geek when it comes to mobile phones and tech in general, so it’s relatively logical for me to ask this question. For an average user, however, the user experience is far from great too. And like me, they cannot do anything about it because that is the only available technology, right?
Well, no, not anymore. That is where the eSIM comes in. I think you can guess by now what it is. In layman’s terms, eSIM is a SIM card chip that is built-in into your mobile phone. It has a handful of additional benefits and zero disadvantages both for the end-user and the provider. eSIM has been around for a few years now, but without one of the mobile industry market leaders adapting them, unfortunately, it has not been easily accessible. However, around 2018, mobile behemoths like Apple, Samsung and Huawei began to produce eSIM enabled mobile devices. And I firmly believe that eSIM will become a default component of all their future handsets as well, at least the flagship ones.
There is a very high chance that your mobile phone supports eSIM and you do not know about it. To check whether your handset is eSIM capable, click here for iPhone, here for Samsung and here for Google devices. You will also need to check whether your mobile network provider supports eSIM. And how does it work? It’s quite easy. Your mobile network provider sends you the eSIM profile in the form of a file that you have to install on your mobile phone and boom, you are all set and can now start browsing your Instagram.
Key benefits to the user:
- no need for an additional physical SIM card or dealing with the SIM tray nightmare – hurray!
- delivery time is instant – it is digital, remember?
- eSIM activation is fast and straightforward
- more control – users can install several eSIM profiles and switch between them as they wish
- universal – can be used with hundreds of compatible mobile network providers worldwide
Key benefits to the service provider:
- most importantly, the onboarding customer experience, magical!
- cost reduction
- zero offline logistics
- a new customer is a lot more accessible
- market leader enabler
- attracts Millennials and Generation Z generations
We would like to see mobile network providers leading this eSIM digital transition, however, the reaction so far has been slow. Even those providers that have already started supporting eSIM are far from utilising its capabilities to leverage the potential ‘magical’ onboarding user experience. This is part of a bigger challenge in the telecoms industry that we highlighted in one of our previous posts Telecom Digital User Experience – why is it so bad? And how did we get here?
There is no doubt that eSIM will take over very soon. But are mobile network providers ready? Here at Mobilise, we have observed the gap between the eSIM technology provided by handset manufacturers and mobile network providers’ adaption and poor user experience. We see this as a huge opportunity for mobile network providers to create a key competitive advantage that will help them stand out in the current competitive market.
If you would like to know how Mobilise can help you to leverage that magical eSIM activation user experience and a lot more via our M-connect platform, please do get in touch.
By Ahmed Houssein
Ahmed Houssein is the Products & Operation Manager with over 5 years experience in MNO, MVNO, VoIP and Mobile Applications sectors. He has a track record of setting up MVNO Operations in the UK and Spain and manages the ongoing operations for our clients. He also manages the enhancement and improvement of our current products and services in an agile environment with the focus on the end-user.