Digitisation is at the forefront of most mobile sectors, and the SIM industry is no different. The need to save space and money, as well as increasing sustainability along the supply chain, has led to the rise of the embedded SIM (eSIM) as a viable alternative to the physical SIM.
Why eSIMs are the future
Giesecke + Devrient Mobile Security (G+D) are a market leader in eSIM management and believe eSIMs solve the main pain points of SIMs. “They don’t require the production and distribution of plastic cards. An eSIM is both a more cost-effective and a more sustainable option than a traditional SIM”, notes Andreas Morawietz, Head of Product Management for eSIM Management Solutions and SIM Convergence at G+D.
Furthermore, from an end-user perspective, an eSIM can be a very convenient option. Particularly for people travelling from country to country outside Europe. “You arrive at the airport in a new country, and switch on your device. While you’re waiting for your suitcase, you can purchase a profile from a local MNO – digitally fulfilling all regulatory requirements and payment – then take your suitcase, get out, and you’re done,” Andreas notes. “This is a digital experience and that is where eSIM management brings a lot of value for consumers. Yet also for MNOs, as they can address and grab these customers at the moment they require connectivity. So, there’s quite a big convenience play there.”
A smooth and simple activation process
Although physical SIM cards do have one major advantage over eSIMs: consumers are familiar with physical SIM cards and how they work. By contrast, most people have no knowledge of an eSIM or how to activate them. Aware of that, leading operators are looking to make the activation process as smooth and simple as possible. To that end, they are making increasing use of GSMA’s eSIM Discovery service.
G&D regards the Discovery service as well suited to a number of key use cases. “GSMA’s eSIM Discovery service allows for compelling user journeys,” says Andreas. “It is ideal for bundles of devices and connectivity.” He believes the Discovery solution should be “the standard onboarding journey” for devices that are sold as part of post-paid mobile contract. “This could be the subsidised phone from the MNO at the point of sale, but also an IoT device sold globally with connectivity,” he adds. In this case, the mobile operator can take responsibility for ensuring the EID is relayed to the SM DP+.
“The most important thing for the customer and also for the MNO, of course, is to find the easiest user journey,” Andreas adds. “Therefore, I would assume scanning the EID is the job of the MNO’s point of sale, not the customer’s. So, the customer should get the device, switch it on and everything is ready.”
Easy provisioning of IoT devices
In the case of a connected bike lamp, for example, a bike shop may take responsibility for ensuring the device EID is sent to the SM DP+, which then uses the Discovery service to retrieve the correct operator profile. “Each bike shop in each country has different MNOs, and they do the pairing right in the shop, so the connectivity is automatically provisioned,” notes Tobias Lepper, G+D’s Senior Product Marketing Manager. “Provisioning such IoT devices could be very easy with the Discovery service.”
Similarly, in cases where a consumer buys a cellular connected device online, such as a pet or luggage tracker, the retailer can match the EID of the device to the subscription for the connectivity.
G+D now works with operators to employ eSIM technology in a very wide range of devices, from trackers for a child’s backpack, to OBD (on-board diagnostics) equipment within vehicles.
As people acquire more and more cellular connected devices, they will encounter more and more eSIMs. As a reseller of GSMA’s eSIM Discovery service, G+D are aiming to make those encounters as painless as possible.