Monday, 18 November 2019

Truphone: eSIM will give consumers more choice and flexibility about the way they get connected

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Monday 28 October 19

In the run up to the Total Telecom Congress 2019, we caught up with Steve Alder of Truphone, to find out how eSIM could impact upon the industry

Tell us a little about the potential of eSIM as a business model The plastic SIM, even though we have lived with it for 25 years, is a bit of a pain. This changes with eSIM, making things so much easier and faster.  Downloading an eSIM, directly on your device, is similar to other digital services, like music streaming and available when you need it, with no visits to stores. This is happening now, as the Apple iPhones launched in 2018 and 2019 all have eSIM capability…

Tell us a little about the potential of eSIM as a business model

The plastic SIM, even though we have lived with it for 25 years, is a bit of a pain. This changes with eSIM, making things so much easier and faster. 

Downloading an eSIM, directly on your device, is similar to other digital services, like music streaming and available when you need it, with no visits to stores. This is happening now, as the Apple iPhones launched in 2018 and 2019 all have eSIM capability.

We not only see significant consumer benefits, such as choice and flexibility, but also a strong desire from device makers’ to free up space in the device that the SIM slot takes up. This valuable “real estate” is needed for future technology and innovation, or maybe a bit more battery!

So, we have to anticipate that the plastic SIM will go the same route as the floppy disc, CD and DVD and become completely digital. Truphone believes this is the future and is already providing eSIM services to Mobile Operators and Device Makers who want to be pioneers in this new technology. 

 

How will eSIM change the way we consume connectivity in the next five years?

eSIM will give consumers more choice and flexibility about the way they get connected. I can imagine having multiple eSIMs on the same device, for the different situations in your life. Such as, work and personal, and home and abroad. I think there will be many reasons to have multiple providers of connectivity on your phone that you can simply manage through an app. The eSIM becomes a channel, and you may have several different channels for different content and applications. The one device, one SIM model will need to change as it limits choice and innovation.

 

How will eSIM effect the roll out of 5G?

We have seen in the past as networks are enhanced customers have been asked to change their SIM cards, such as when we moved from 2G to 3G, and when the form factor of the SIM changed to get smaller. If the promise of 5G is more connected devices, then the logistics of getting SIM cards to all these devices and managing them will be impractical. Truphone believes eSIM and the ability to manage the SIM card remotely is a key factor in scaling of 5G. The eSIM could become the unsung hero of the whole 5G roll out.

 

What are the biggest obstacles for the Telecoms industry in transitioning to eSIM ?

Truphone realises that this shift from physical SIM to digital SIM creates huge challenges to operators as it completely changes many of their processes – that they’ve been running for so many years. So Truphone is providing its own technology to operators to get them fully operational and ready for this new market. Truphone has its own in-house built SIM-Provisioning platform that can be easily and quickly integrated with any operator around the world so they can start winning the new customers who want to use eSIM

 

What predictions do you have for the industry over the next 12-18 months?

My prediction is that we will see the first eSIM-only consumer devices launch in 2021. 

Right now we are only at the very beginning, but in 2020 as we see the mass market Android devices launch with eSIM. These will have both a physical SIM and an eSIM as the market transitions. The massive tipping point in adoption will come once the physical SIM slot disappears, which we believe will be sooner than many others are predicting.

Beyond that, we can see the next step to iSIM, where the SIM is contained as part of the main chipset. This has the potential to connect anything that has a processor and opens up many new business opportunities, especially in IoT. 

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