SIM cards are the technology behind our mobile devices that allow us to connect to a network and communicate with the world around us. SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module and is the unique identifier for a device; in fact, each card has a seventeen-digit code that identifies the country or region of the service, the network, and the unique user ID. It links you to a network along with a phone number, and it stores and tracks valuable information about your device usage, such as your minutes and data usage.
As technology has advanced, so have SIM cards. The basic SIM card is a small removable chip that you can take in and out of a device, but there are alternatives to a physical chip you install yourself. embedded Subscriber Identity Modules (eSIMs) are becoming the standard of IoT solutions—but what is an eSIM, and is it the right for your fleet of devices? Read on to learn more about eSIMs, their role in modern connectivity, and where you can find the best eSIM options.
What Is An eSIM Card?
eSIMs are SIM cards that are permanently built into each device. While a traditional SIM card is removable, eSIMs consist of software that has been installed onto an eUICC chip, which is soldered within the device, though some eSIMs are removable. These eSIMs allow users to download carrier data remotely, which means you can switch between carriers and have multiple carrier profiles on a single SIM.. Instead of using a physical chip, you can install an “eSIM profile” to activate your device and service when the chip is pre-installed.
In the embedded model, the chip is directly welded to the circuit board, so while you aren’t able to transfer the chip to a new device, many use cases don’t require removable chips and prefer permanent eSIMs for device deployment.
Main Functions of eSIM Cards
eSIM has been around for several years, but it is gaining more and more traction in large-scale IoT device deployments. Mobile phones released in the last couple of years are being built with eSIMs (like the iPhone XR or Google Pixel 3), but eSIMs largely shine in the IoT world with tech-heavy organizations. There are dozens of IoT devices that support eSIM technology, like vehicles, home appliances, industrial machines, and other wearables that need to stay connected to the internet.
Why are companies with big IoT deployments favoring eSIMs? What is eSIM offering that previous SIM solutions aren’t? The real question is: what is the point of an eSIM? The most notable difference between eSIMs and other SIM cards is that you can change your wireless carrier, data, or service plan through software instead of dealing with hardware.
This is a bonus for companies that have devices that function over large areas or even worldwide—and instead of physically altering a device if you need to switch carriers, you can switch carriers at the press of a button. This is called remote SIM provisioning (RSP), which is largely done using OTA programming and is essential for roaming IoT devices that require seamless coverage.
Benefits of eSIM Cards
With innovative capabilities like RSP and multiple carrier profiles available to a single device, eSIMs are becoming a keystone in IoT and connectivity infrastructure. Here are more of the business benefits of eSIM cards.
- Future-proofing connected devices. As IoT devices are streamlined to function with other technological advancements, including evolving networks, sunsets, or service terminations, eSIMs protect your fleet of devices from becoming obsolete.
- Save on SIM switching expenses. Remote provisioning means that businesses no longer need to spend money to purchase new SIM cards or physically replace legacy SIMs. Simply switching over the air can be a seamless and inexpensive alternative.
- Better logistics management. If your fleet of devices is spread all over the nation or the world, it is expensive, time-consuming, and unrealistic to manage or update all physical SIM cards at scale. eSIMs give organizations the freedom and ability to make updates, switch carriers, or any other SIM card-related changes remotely, no matter the geological location of a device.
- Make the most of your IoT investments. IoT devices are changing most industries—which means businesses must face the demand for IoT expenses and investments. When you can reduce the management cost of your IoT devices by using eSIM cards, you also minimize the total cost of ownership of connected devices and maximize returns on IoT investments.
When to Use an eSIM
eSIMs are being used in the latest iPhones, smartwatches, tablets, and laptops that your average person uses, but eSIMs are also effective for organizations that use IoT device deployments.
If you use multiple carriers at all or need to use two lines simultaneously, eSIMs are far more convenient than using multiple physical SIMs that you have to remove or install yourself.
More and more carriers and manufacturers are favoring eSIM cards, so beyond the convenience of these cards, you also don’t want to fall behind in the competition and use outdated SIM solutions.
What is an eSIM card good for in today’s IoT landscape? Here are some of the ways that eSIM cards are supporting industries that keep the world running.
Automotive. Car manufacturers can make a car with an eSIM and send it anywhere in the world without worrying about specific network operators, which reduces costs and improves the customer experience, too. If someone moves to a new country or even just across the country and needs to change their network provider, they don’t have to take their car into the shop—they can simply update their carrier profile over the air.
Shipping and logistics. Tracking is a major part of logistics and getting cargo where it needs to be, which calls for near real-time updates on shipments. For that kind of constant connectivity, having access to the right networks is an important part of a business’ IoT strategy. This is possible with eSIM cards since they offer RSP.
Wearables. Whether it’s a personal device or a medical device that helps save lives, IoT wearables must be reliable at all times. eSIMs don’t take up as much space, which means eSIM devices have more space for larger batteries, more accurate sensors, etc.
Combining eSIM and IoT
So, what is an eSIM card? Not only are eSIM cards a technology that is changing how devices are managed, but they are redefining the boundaries of IoT connectivity and pushing industries into new and exciting territories. Whatever industry you work in, IoT devices will make their way into your operations if they haven’t already, and eSIMs make managing those devices much easier.
If you need an eSIM solution for your organization’s devices, Simon IOT can help you with your eSIM necessities. Not only do we help you customize a data plan that works for you, but we also offer competitive prices and global coverage. View our eSIM data plans to learn more about the endless possibilities with Simon IoT services!