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The future of data roaming – How can embedded connectivity revolutionise the travel industry

20 Jun 2023 4 min read

Travelling has become an integral part of our lives, whether it’s for business or leisure. And for many travellers, staying connected while abroad is a top priority. But with the rising costs of data roaming and the inconvenience of swapping out physical SIM cards, there’s been a growing demand for a more flexible and convenient solution. Here, we’ll explore the future of data roaming.

eSIM, short for embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is downloaded directly to a mobile device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card. The technology has gained traction in recent years since its introduction to the consumer market in 2016, with 98 per cent of mobile operators globally planning to offer eSIM by 2025, according to GSMA Intelligence. It’s now a game-changer for those on the go, thanks to the flexibility that it offers its users.

 

Changing the game

Step off the plane and, if you’re well prepared, you can be instantly connected to a local mobile network through eSIM. When activating an eSIM, all that’s required is that you have an eSIM-capable device. Research a local mobile service provider (SP) that offers eSIM technology, install their application and purchase your plan. While some will email over a QR code to scan in order to activate the device, the slicker SPs will offer in-app provisioning, to get you connected in just one tap.

The key benefits when it comes to travel are how easy it is to switch between SIMs and how cost-effective it is compared to roaming from your existing service provider. Devices are able to hold as many as eight profiles simultaneously without the trouble of physically carrying and changing SIM cards. This means that travellers can have a local number and data plan in the country they’re visiting while keeping their usual number active. While it’s considerably more convenient for those travelling for leisure purposes, it’s even more helpful for regular business travellers who often need to maintain local contacts while staying connected with their base.

 

Overcoming roadblocks

While eSIM for travel has been a nicety for a few years now, it’s a necessity for US eSIM-only iPhone 14 owners, with no physical SIM card slot at all. With early predictions that the iPhone 15 will too be eSIM-only, but this time in Europe, there are some concerns among consumers around the device’s capabilities for travel.

Travel to less developed nations and the chances of finding a mobile SP that offers eSIM are fairly slim. The roaming traveller eSIM services market has been developing at a rapid pace over the last couple of years. These SPs offer an alternative to buying locally or paying roaming charges.

Mobilise’s HERO platform is a white-labelled, fully customisable BSS platform that enables network operators to launch their digital eSIM capabilities. Using the platform as a base enabled Mobilise to provide all the digital services required for eSIM capabilities — from the user interface to app and website development, and designing the user experience. To view how this works, Trill Mobile is a fully operational app that showcases how Mobilise can enable in-app eSIM provisioning for service providers looking to embed connectivity within their existing app.

 

Untapped potential

While eSIM creates a whole new level of customer experience for mobile SPs, it also opens up the market to non-telco businesses to offer eSIM connectivity as an additional revenue stream.

Any business that operates digitally and has its own app can potentially offer eSIM services through Mobilise’s plug-and-play eSIM SDK. Fully integrable into existing mobile applications eSIM SDK enables businesses to offer mobile data directly through their own app. It can be set up in a matter of days and customers can get connected to a local network in a matter of seconds with just one tap.

Take airlines for example. Take a look around an aircraft cabin the moment the plane touches down and you’ll see everybody switching their phones back on and getting reconnected to the mobile network. Airlines could offer eSIMs through their mobile app at the point when customers are purchasing flights as well as during online check-in. Not only would this enhance the customer experience and offer an additional often-forgotten necessity. It would also diversify their revenue stream.

Thanks to the development of the consumer eSIM, connectivity issues when travelling can, and will, become a distant memory. Whether you’re a frequent traveller, a mobile SP or a business owner in the travel industry looking to diversify your service offering, it’s time to embrace the power of eSIM and the changes it’s bringing to global connectivity for the better.

For more information on our eSIM as a Service or eSIM SDK click here, or contact us now for a demo.

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