MWC: The acceleration of the eSIM market

Last updated: 02 March 2023

If you were at MWC last year, then you may remember us talking about the power of eSIMs. Whether it’s bringing greater choice and flexibility for consumers or simplifying the access and management of cellular connectivity for massive IoT – we’ve long discussed the benefits of this technology.

However, in the past 12 months there have been game changing developments that have sped up the deployment of this technology and changed the pace of the conversation.

A game-changing industry moment created by Apple

Not for the first time in the company’s history, Apple has made a game changing move in the industry – accelerating the trend towards eSIMs with the launch of the iPhone 14.

eSIMs have been a focal point of discussion for a while now – since 2018 all new Apple phones had an eSlM capability – but the iPhone 14 was the first to completely drop the SIM card slot. An interesting move that took the industry by surprise, forcing the hand of many carriers – and consumers.

According to GSMA Intelligence research, the total number of consumer eSIM devices (smartphones, tablets and smartwatches) available for purchase in June 2022 had increased fivefold on December 2018. Despite this, consumer awareness of eSIM technology remains low. The GSMA Intelligence Consumers in Focus Survey 2021 shows that less than 30% of consumers are aware of eSIM – a clear barrier to adoption.

However, where Apple leads, many follow – and the iPhone 14 launch is seen by many as the start of the demise of the physical SIM card and eSIMs becoming the norm.

With this in mind, at MWC this year we’re discussing our latest development in eSIM technology.

Creating a frictionless experience with Smart Profile Matcher

As the eSIM market increases in size, so does the demand for eSIM subscriptions. A frictionless experience is one of the benefits of eSIM connectivity, meaning MNOs need to find the most successful and efficient way to match consumer profiles to devices.

As with any evolving tech, there’s a constant stream of new regulations to content with. The GSMA has an evolving set of specifications to help create a unified, and standardised eSIM ecosystem.

MNOs must adopt a subscription management solution that delivers the best possible end user experience – ensuring the immediate successful download of profiles for all eSIM capable devices on the market. This is where Thales’ Smart Profile Matcher can help.

Smart Profile Matcher is designed specifically to optimize the success of eSIM profile deployments. For MNOs, it ensures real time delivery of eSIM subscriptions that are adapted to the individual characteristics of each device. The solution remotely analyses the mobile device in question, and prepares precisely the right profile, automatically and instantly.

How they can help keep customers connected abroad

One example of this in the field is with the travel industry. Thanks to eSIM technology, a traveller can use a QR code to activate a prepaid subscription in their destination country.

Travellers simply scan the featured QR code with their eSIM-capable phones and mobile subscriptions are downloaded to the devices. The user then only needs to validate the activation offer to be connected to the MNO’s network and get a new local phone number.

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