eSIM technology continues to grow, showing that it is the likely direction for SIM technology around the world. The Samsung S20, released on March 6th, is the latest phone model that supports eSIM, and it is the first in Samsung’s line of phones.
According to a statement put out by ABI Research, Samsung’s adoption of eSIM will push the global shipment of eSIM enabled smartphones to over 225 million. That is still a small share of the global smartphone market. According to Statista, global purchases of smartphones was above 1.5 billion in 2019.
Growth of the Global eSIM Market
eSIM technology burst into the global market when Apple released announced support for the technology in its XR and S devices. Since then, we all assumed that Samsung would follow suit in the coming years. Samsung now joins with Apple, Google, and Motorola in supporting eSIM.
Phil Sealy, Digital Security Research Director at ABI Research explains, “It was always a case of when, rather than if, Samsung would support eSIM. 2020 marks a defining year and another milestone for the eSIM market. Having the largest smartphone OEM onboard, shipping over 200 million devices annually is a significant market step. Industry experts will now be closely monitoring Samsung and how it might start expanding eSIM support to other device ranges, including its Note and A ranges.”
Sealy predicts that the growth of eSIM will begin new subscription offerings from mobile service providers will have to change. As more and more devices go online, it will have to change how providers charge for their services.
Sealy continues, “The cellular connectivity market and how data is consumed will transform consumer subscriptions models. Device OEMs such as Samsung have an integral role to play in facilitating this transformation. OEMs want to provide flexibility to their consumer device users and create further brand stickiness by enabling a cellular-connected ‘family’ of products and cross-device mirrored experiences, using eSIM as the enabling technology… Subscription offerings are evolving (voice packages to data and soon toward device bundles), the latter of which will require Remote Subscription Management (RSM) to share a profile over multiple device types.”
In other words, providers will need to find a way to manage a bundle of devices with one account. They will need to create a system that allows us to switch over all our devices simultaneously.
eSIM is a relatively new technology that replaces the traditional SIM card. The SIM is the card that stores your user profile and information about what network you use. Depending on when you got your phone, the SIM could be as large as 25mm x 15mm or as small as 12mm by 9mm.
These old-school SIM cards are easy to switch out, though. Simply pop out the old one and slip in a new one. Suddenly, your phone works on a new network. Physical SIMs have one simple advantage. They are simple to use and easy to change. The disadvantage? Every time you want to switch to a new network, you have to physically go down to the local network store to pick up a SIM and install it.
That might not seem so bad for a mobile phone user, but it could be very difficult when large-scale industrial applications go online. Say a farmer places sensors at regular intervals throughout his fields to gauge the quality of the soil. If he wants to change each sensor, he wouldn’t want to hire a guy to go from sensor to sensor pulling out an old SIM and putting in the new.
eSIM allows a device, whether a phone or a farming sensor, to change networks without a physical SIM switch. This technology will be the key to expanding the internet of things, whether farming sensors or your toaster.