Guiding eSIM Technology for Consumer Devices


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    According to recent research by Gartner, eSIM technology is going to be one of the top 9 leading technologies in consumer IoT devices. Since 2016, the number of eSIM-enabled consumer devices has increased significantly. These include the new Apple iPhone, iPad devices, and eSIM-ready Android smartphones that started coming out in 2018. These devices have raised the industry standard and created new challenges for providers to deliver a seamless customer experience regarding eSIM solutions and connectivity. 


    The eSIM Activation Challenge:

    Before 2016, sim card producers had physical SIM cards as the only way for devices and users to connect with mobile networks. These SIM cards were a physical representation of a mobile operator’s services. Their removability provided a sense of freedom and familiarity. For these reasons and more, traditional SIM cards won’t be entirely eradicated from the market any time soon.


    Businesses across the world are well along their digital transformation journeys. eSIM solutions are set to transform a physical connectivity market into a digital space.


    How Does an eSIM Connect to a Network?

    An eSIM card is a secure fortress for storing eSIM profiles in a device. One eSIM contains all the network settings and subscriptions that allow users to connect with a mobile network, along with proper authentication protocols. 


    The MNO must establish an SM-DP+ (Subscription Manager Data Preparation platform) to update and download eSIM profiles within an embedded SIM securely. The SM-DP+ enables operators to create a user profile and subscription to make it available to download. Key global MNOs already have subscription management platforms that ensure security while creating, managing, downloading and updating eSIM profiles for their users. 


    Activating eSIM devices in a Network:

    The thing you need for activating an eSIM device is connectivity. Once your device connects to a WiFi or mobile network, you can use several methods to enable an eSIM device.


    • Through digital or physical QR codes from the MNO: Using this method, scan a QR code and download an eSIM profile onto your eSIM-enabled device. These QR codes generally include data relating to where the device can download eSIM profiles securely.


    • Through a Mobile Operator application: When you switch on your device the first time after buying it, the operator’s default app can automatically trigger your eSIM profile download process. 


    • By setting a default download address in the manufacturing process for an improved experience (operator-subsidised devices only): eSIM subscriptions are pre-provisioned within devices in the production stage. Consequently, the SM-DP+ address is already there too. When a user turns on the device, it downloads the operator profile automatically. In this situation, OEMs and MNOs need to work together from the device production stage itself. 


    • Through the Subscription Management Root-Discovery Service by GSMA: If the mobile operator of your choice is already a part of GSMA’s SM-DS platform, all you need to do is turn on your eSIM-enabled device. The eSIM will retrieve the operator’s network profile remotely, automatically and instantly and add it to your eSIM vault.