Industry Voices

How eSIMs are creating new opportunities for connectivity

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eSIMS are gaining traction. The industry forecasts suggest there will be 3.4 billion eSIM-enabled devices by 2025 and the list of eSIM-ready devices continues to rise.

As eSIMs become increasingly widespread, telcos are already thinking outside the box to identify innovative ways to capitalise on eSIMs and enhance their current offerings. Below, we'll discuss the inventive use cases telcos can capitalise on through eSIMs, and how these devices will bring about far greater flexibility and connectivity for consumers.

Opportunities and advantages of eSIMs

One of the most crucial use cases for eSIMs is their ability to support enterprises regarding private network usage. These private networks can be built explicitly in line with the needs of the devices they will support. Implementing eSIMS in this way removes the need to swap SIMS during deployments physically or when there are faults by seamlessly enabling OTA Provisioning. Further benefiting large-scale deployments, utlising eSIMS can take implementing the IoT to the next level as more devices can be added and managed seamlessly.

Additionally, there are ever-growing eSIMs opportunities to capitalise on through AI. AI can elevate the capabilities of eSIMs by ensuring the devices connect to the most optimal network based on the conditions required by the device. This works particularly well when dealing with roaming conditions where it can select the best carrier based on cost and QOS. On the other side of the network, AI can identify fraud and suspicious activity, monitor large volumes of network data and derive insights, and predict maintenance and network failures.

Because eSIMs are 'rewritable', users can swap and change networks - if the carrier supports the tech. This feature is one of the key benefits, enabling users to switch networks without removing the SIM and inserting a new one. This is especially beneficial for travellers wishing to acquire a local SIM card to avoid roaming charges while retaining their number. It's expected that eSIMs will eventually make switching seamless without the usual fuss of phone calls, demands for PAC numbers, and waiting for the switch to occur.

Additionally, eSIMs will eventually negate the need for a physical SIM card and tray. Smartphone manufacturers will be able to repurpose this space to increase the phone's battery size, increase storage, add more features, etc.

Furthermore, by using multiple eSIMs simultaneously, consumers can mix and match various data and call plans that give them the best value-add for their money when combined.

Inventive use cases for enhanced connectivity 

In addition to the usual use cases associated with eSIMs - i.e. private networks, seamless network switching, and maximised phone space, to name a few - telcos can provide a host of unique offers for enhanced flexibility and connectivity.

As designs become more widespread and refined, 'try before you buy' and free eSIM campaigns will likely be more common among providers. This is particularly relevant for travellers and airport-centric locations as someone who enrols early in their journey abroad is unlikely to switch operators during the trip.

Implementing 'try before you buy' campaigns enables operators to easily create brand activation campaigns at relevant locations - like the airport or a concert - where they'll supply free eSIMs with limited data to spread brand awareness and acquire customers. Using eSIMs to deploy these campaigns is more accessible, cost-effective, and greener.

With eSIMs, providers can develop more granular and flexible access plans that cater to different usage scenarios. Operators can also offer access plans tailored to specific time durations, allowing users to choose what best fits their temporary connectivity requirements.

Operators can provide access plans tailored to particular time durations, such as hourly, half-daily, daily, or weekly. This allows users to choose the plan that best suits their temporary connectivity requirements, whether for a short-term trip, a specific event, or a brief period of increased data usage.

Operators can also offer bundles that combine connectivity services with digital services such as cloud storage, streaming, productivity tools, and other value-added services. Additionally, it's possible to offer users the ability to activate or deactivate connectivity services on-demand based on their specific needs and timeframes.

Embracing eSIMs 

One of the main barriers to adopting eSIMs is whether operators can and are willing to retrofit devices to be eSIM compatible. For operators, this decision primarily depends on the use case and cost. Most operators will look to utilise devices already connected to a network; unless retrofitting will result in improved performance or faster updates that lead to tangible improvements for users.

As the eSIM ecosystem evolves, users can anticipate a future marked by seamless connectivity, reduced waste, and an ever-expanding menu of tailored options, all orchestrated by a symbiotic relationship between technology and telecommunications. Operators stand to reap multifarious benefits from the proliferation of eSIM and eSIM solutions to capitalise on its possibilities.

Kelvin Chaffer is Chief Executive Officer at Lifecycle Software. With a software engineering background and an ever-growing passion for technology, Kelvin is known for driving growth and innovation in the product portfolio. Kelvin has worked at Lifecycle for 20 years using his positive attitude and tireless energy to inspire and lead Lifecycle’s R&D.