Find out how e-SIM promises to leverage the Internet of Things

Most of the CDs, DVDs and magazines are already there, abandoned in the drawer. The evolution of technology and the digitization of contents made some supports practically forgotten in time. We consume virtually everything, from music to information. The next element that should occupy a place in the oblivion (at least in the form it is today) is the SIM card – yes, your cell phone chip. You can set aside a space for it in the drawer. The new thing to come – and it is already being used in some devices – is the e-SIM ((read “i”-SIM)), an electronic chip embedded between the internal components of the devices, be it a smartphone or any other that will have a mobile internet connection.

The e-SIM is a third the size of the smallest SIM card in use today, the nanoSIM. The technology is practically identical, with the same functions and even the same level of security. But the miniaturization, by itself, is already an advantage, after all, the change will free up not only the space used by the current chip, but also the reader and tray that support it. It may seem small, but it certainly means a big step in the quest for ever thinner phones. More than that, e-SIM can be used in even smaller devices that will connect to mobile cellular networks, such as smart watches and other wearables.

For us users, the first big difference will be in the way we interact with operators. With a device that has a built-in SIM natively, no one will have to waste time going to stores. Everything will be done through simple calls or apps…

The chip will come “blank”, that is, without any recorded information. The idea is that the user can download the operator's credentials. More interesting is that because it is rewritable, you will be able to change service providers much more quickly and simply – at least that is what is expected; and that, without thinking about contract bureaucracy. The same e-SIM will be compatible with all operators and another advantage would be the possibility of having more than two numbers in the same device – without having to keep changing the chip.

If, on the one hand, switching operators should be easy, not all are advantages. If you are a person who often changes smartphones or even have several devices at home in which you usually use the same SIM card, the electronic chip should make your life a little more difficult. That won't be possible anymore; you will need to activate the e-SIM on each device.

Recently, Apple and Google introduced devices that use electronic SIM technology. The microchip is already used in Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones; and also the Apple Watch series 3. Now, maybe even cooler than this story on smartphones is thinking about the application of e-SIM for Internet of Things. The chip can be shipped in a refrigerator, in a car…anything. And that doesn't mean that you, the user, will have to choose an operator for each connected object. Thinking about new business models that should emerge, the idea is that the connectivity of certain devices is offered as a service provision for different segments.

In Brazil, the conversation is still very incipient. These are just discussions about the novelty that should only appear in early 2019. Probably, in early 2018, at the Mobile World Congress, the main mobility fair that takes place annually in Barcelona, Spain, we should already see a lot involving the e-SIM. As always, you'll get to know everything firsthand around here…

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