What is eSIM card? After the release of the iPhone 12 series of mobile phones, the iPhone 12 mini attracted the attention of many people. They rushed to Apple’s official website with coins, only to find that the iPhone 12 mini is a single-card phone and can only choose the next time. That’s not right, isn’t it that the iPhone 12 mini is a dual-SIM phone? It turns out that although they are all iPhone 12 minis, they are very different. The mainland version of the iPhone 12 mini is a physical SIM single-card mobile phone, and the US version of the iPhone 12 mini is a physical SIM card plus an eSIM dual-SIM mobile phone.
Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued an approval document agreeing to China Mobile and China Telecom to develop eSIM technology application services in the Internet of Things and other fields. China Unicom’s eSIM service was licensed as early as this year. So far, the three major operators have all received red-head documents for eSIM services, which indicates that eSIM will be popularized in China. Why are mobile phone manufacturers and operators represented by Apple promoting eSIM cards?
01 What is eSIM?
eSIM card (Embedded-SIM) is an embedded micro SIM card. It directly embeds the traditional SIM card on the device chip, and does not need to be added to the device as an independent removable component, which solves many pain points of the physical SIM card. According to the current eSIM card technical standards, in theory, the most direct benefit of eSIM card for users is that it allows users to flexibly choose operator packages or change operators at any time without unlocking the device or purchasing a new device. At present, eSIM cards are mainly used in terminals such as smart phones, smart watches, smart home appliances, and Internet of Things devices.
02With a SIM card, why do we still need an eSIM?
When they see eSIM, many people think of SIM cards. That’s right, eSIM is a more advanced evolution form of SIM card. First, let’s take a look at the SIM card, the Chinese of the SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module)-user identity module. It looks small, but it can implement many important functions, such as storing SMS data and phone numbers, providing user identity authentication, providing security algorithms and key functions.
03 eSIM has many advantages and is environmentally friendly
In theory, eSIM basically solves the shortcomings of the SIM card.
1. It is smaller, further saving space. Taking Infineon’s 5G eSIM solution OC1110 as an example, the package size of eSIM is about 96% smaller than that of Nano SIM card. In the future development of eSIM cards, there will also be eSIM SIP forms and eSIM SOC forms. The eSIM is concentrated in the baseband, and the volume will be further reduced.
2. It is integrated inside the fuselage, there is no replacement and storage problems. It is foreseeable that as long as eSIM cards are used on a large scale, card pins and card slots will become a thing of the past, and the card cutting business will disappear.
3. The process design cost of the smart device is further reduced, and there is no need to slot the card tray, the degree of integration is higher, and it is also beneficial to waterproof and dustproof. For example, the cellular version of Apple Watch does not have a physical SIM card slot, and its waterproof performance greatly exceeds that of the iPhone, reaching a maximum of 50 meters water resistance. If a physical SIM card design is adopted, whether such a high level of waterproof can be achieved is a big question mark.
4. In theory, the eSIM card can switch between operators and packages flexibly, but whether it can be realized in the end depends on the relevant national regulations and the openness of operators. At present, a more feasible solution is that when we enter another country or region with a mobile phone with eSIM card function, we no longer need to find a local operator to open a physical SIM card, and we can apply directly on the mobile phone. When you leave, you can disable or log out on your phone. In addition, the promotion of eSIM cards is also conducive to environmental protection. Physical SIM cards and their packaging need to consume plastic, metal, and paper. One eSIM card is equivalent to countless cards before, reducing a lot of resource consumption.
04 Among 5G and the Internet of Things, eSIM has great imagination
At present, everyone is concerned about the convenience brought by eSIM. Can you let yourself be more free to change telecom packages or operators. And if we look further, we will find that the various advantages of eSIM cards make it more applicable, wearable devices, smart home appliances, automobiles and even industrial Internet of Things can have its presence. Smartwatches such as Apple Watch, Huawei Watch, OPPO Watch, etc., some models are equipped with eSIM cards, and have been well-received by users in the pilot use of eSIM. The frequency of users carrying or using their mobile phones can be reduced, which is more convenient for users of large-screen mobile phones. A lot.
In terms of automobiles, unmanned driving is one of the promising directions for people. With eSIM and 5G, the reliability of unmanned driving will be more guaranteed. The eSIM card is integrated in the car. In case of an emergency such as a car accident, the possibility of the eSIM loosening and falling off is theoretically lower than that of a physical SIM card. The eSIM does not need to be replaced manually as the communication standard or service provider changes like a physical SIM card, only software updates are required.
In terms of industrial Internet, eSIM can be very effective. For example, street lights, traffic lights, water and electricity meters are also required for networking, but the cost of rewiring to connect to the network is too high, the stability of WiFi connection is difficult to ensure, and the card slot design of the physical SIM card is also It is difficult to reliably waterproof under wind and sun, and subsequent maintenance is also a big problem.
The eSIM card can solve these problems in theory. While the product form is not changed much, after the product is damaged, it is gradually replaced with an eSIM enabled product to realize the networking function, and the subsequent maintenance cost is relatively low. Take the utility meter as an example. It is almost difficult to read the water meter manually in the future. The meter will automatically upload data when it expires, reminding the user to pay the fee on the mobile phone.
05 eSIM is good, but the promotion is not optimistic
At present, it is difficult to activate eSIM service for mobile phones in China, and it can only be activated on specific conditions and specific devices. From the launch of the pilot function to the official opening now, after about two years, the promotion of eSIM cards can be said to be a bit slow. Regarding the reason for the slow promotion, there is no official statement so far. There are many statements on the Internet. We have sorted out the main points.
1. Cost factors. Some people believe that the obvious cost advantage of eSIM does not mean simply switching to eSIM. The internal design of smart devices, the adjustment of the industrial chain, and the support of operators all have to do a lot of work. These are all costs. It is not a small threshold and requires all industries to work together.
2. Operator factors. Some people think that once the potential of eSIM is fully opened up, users can freely choose and switch between operators and telecom packages. This is unwilling to see operators, so they are reluctant to advance. However, judging from the three domestic operators’ proactive attempts to develop eSIM services in recent years, this statement is untenable. If operators are really afraid that eSIM will affect their status, they can start from other aspects such as handling review rules, and do not have to strive for pilot eSIM services. Of course, some people think that operators conduct business passively.
3. Technical factors. Others believe that in the past few years, eSIM had many technical difficulties that could not be overcome. eSIM can repeatedly activate and deregister packages, and how to accurately identify the user’s true identity is a difficult problem. If eSIM is cracked by criminals and used for spam promotion or fraud, there will be a certain degree of difficulty in supervision. Now the eSIM card has been comprehensively promoted after several years of pilot projects and technological upgrading, and the problems have been overcome, and it has been recognized by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Compared with SIM cards, eSIM is smaller and easier to integrate into small devices. In theory, more items can be made “smart”, which will have a very large impact on the user’s mind and may further eliminate intelligence to a certain extent. The “central” status of mobile phones. The decentralization of mobile phones is an inevitable trend and a good trend. It is because if the mobile phone is the center, there will be limitations in terms of smart experience. While enjoying the advantages of a certain mobile phone, one can only passively accept the shortcomings of it and its peripheral devices. Perhaps in the near future, more and more people will go out without a mobile phone, wearing brand A smart headphones and brand B smartwatches, Brand C smart glasses and D brand smart bicycles can travel lightly