Your last ever SIM card: What switching to an eSIM means in practice


If you use an eSIM in your smartphone instead of a standard SIM card, you won’t need to plug in a new SIM card when changing to a new provider. — dpa

BERLIN: In the digital era, the paper clip largely serves one function: helping you fiddle the SIM card tray out of your old smartphone so you can plug it into a new one.

But eSIM technology is on track to make even that use of the paper clip a thing of the past.

That’s because the “e” in eSIM stands for embedded, meaning that unlike the usual mini, micro or nano SIM cards, an eSIM is permanently installed in a smartphone.

Mobile phone providers around the world now offer this option not only for contract customers, but increasingly also for prepaid customers.

But to switch to what will likely be your last ever SIM card, you’ll need an eSIM-capable end device. This is usually the case with newer smartphone models from major manufacturers.

Phoning and connecting to mobile data functions the same with an eSIM as it does with a physical SIM card, and while there is no major incentive to go out and actively switch to eSIM, there are a few conveniences it brings.

Once your eSIM is activated, the chip contains the same data as a conventional SIM card. However the initial setup is simpler as the SIM is activated digitally and the data is downloaded from the Internet.

Your eSIM can also be overwritten with new contract data at any time. This makes it slightly easier to change mobile phone providers, while also helping to eliminate one form of ewaste, as you’ll no longer need to throw away old SIMs.

Another benefit is that if you lose your smartphone, you’ll no longer have to wait for a new SIM card to arrive in the post before your next phone works. If you buy a new mobile phone, you can simply load your SIM data onto the eSIM online.

Even if you have a suitable smartphone, you don’t have to switch immediately to a cardless eSIM, and can usually continue to use conventional SIM cards. – dpa

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