eSim: the physical SIM retires and gives way to the virtual one

Here comes the new green turning point: eSim, the virtual SIM, will replace the now old physical cards of mobile phones . The start of the telephone revolution is Spusu, an Austrian virtual operator that offers competitive offers and many advantages for its customers. The telephone operators were already aware of this possibility, but have tried for years to curb the spread of the virtual SIM. The fear was that the market could become too competitive and full of new entrants.

What is the SIM?

The SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module, or the subscriber identity module is the identity of a mobile phone user. It is associated with a unique number called IMSI, International Mobile Subscriber Identity . This identifier allows telephony operators to define a user profile and associate the services with it according to a subscription to which the person has subscribed.

The very first SIMs, introduced in the early 1990s, were the size of a credit card . Given their inconvenience, they were soon supplanted by Mini-SIM, the ones used in our first cell phones. Later, in 2003, came the Micro-SIM, even smaller in size but with the same thickness of contacts as the previous one. This generation of SIM was introduced for the use of smartphones: the iPhone 4 was the first to use it. The Nano-SIM has supplanted the Micro since 2012, with even smaller thickness and dimensions. Also in this case it was an Apple device that first used the new type of SIM: the iPhone 5 .

From physical SIM to virtual revolution: the eSim arrives
From physical SIM to virtual revolution: the eSim arrives

Now, after 9 years, the time has come to take the virtual SIM one step further. The physical support will be definitively abandoned : several smartphones already allow you to use the eSIM. Among the first operators to propose the new type of subscription are Spusu , Very Mobile, Vodafone , Tim and Wind 3. The telephone companies have already published interesting offers for new customers who will activate the eSIM.

eSim: how does the virtual SIM work?

An eSim works exactly like a classic SIM, but without the need for physical media. In reality there is something material: the new SIM is incorporated in the device in the form of a small chip , therefore already present at the time of production of the smartphone or tablet. This avoids having to insert the SIM every time you change your phone with the risk of damaging it, and not being limited by the number of slots available in the device.

eSim in fact allows virtual support for multiple SIMs: it is sufficient to configure your tariff plan every time you want to activate one to connect immediately and have access to the operator's services. When signing a contract , a QR Code is provided to be scanned to access the activation procedure (for this phase it is necessary to have access to the network). After a few short steps it will already be possible to take advantage of the eSim and all the services provided in the purchased plan.

The eSIM will avoid having to insert the card every time you change phones.
The eSIM will avoid having to insert the card every time you change phones.

With the eSIM you can keep your number , even if you change operator. The elimination of the physical slot in smartphones will allow you to have more space to, for example, expand the memory of the device. Furthermore, the eSIM can also be supported by smartwatches , devices that, due to their small size, did not allow the use of a classic SIM. Last but not least, is the reduction of plastic consumption for the production of the cards. The eSIM will also solve the problem of disposing of old smartcards.

At the moment the devices that support the virtual SIM are still limited in number, but soon the eSIM will become the standard for all smartphones and tablets (and not only). In detail, the mobile phones that already incorporate the virtual SIM are:

  • iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2020
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XR, XS, XS Max
  • Google Pixel 4, 4a, 5
  • Huawei P40, P40 Pro
  • Nuu Mobile X5
  • Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 +, S20 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold LTE
  • Motorola Razr 2019

The eSim article : the physical SIM retires and gives way to the virtual one comes from Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .