How often do you use your smartphone to go online, check an email or your newsfeed? Lets me guess, probably sometimes even more often than you want it. And definitely oftener than just a regular phone – for calling. As a consequence, one is likely to choose the mobile operator, that will provide him with the best mobile internet conditions. However, in this case one can lock himself into a plan with a single mobile operator. Since, people usually do not prefer switching SIM – cards, because of the connected inconvenience (transfer information, contacts, sometimes changing numbers, security issues etc.) they accept all the operator’s conditions.
Don’t you want to be regardless of the boundaries? Believe me, you will. The concept of the “embedded SIM” (E-SIM) that is a embedded as a chip within the device hardware, will allow to switch operators and a few min, without any side problems.
Thanks to the partnership between Apple, Samsung and GSMA, E-SIM will be brought to life soon. Although, Apple has released this technology (Apple SIM) earlier in 2011, it is adjustable only to the latest Apple products (iPads, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models). According to Mckinsey, the GSMA is expected to present the outcome of ongoing alignment negotiations later. The association announced that “with the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalize the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016.”
Nevertheless, the physical SIM cards will be in use for the next few years. During this time companies and customers will be able to prepare all the needed to switch from the existing SIM technology to new standards.
Indeed, new standards will bring advantages to consumers as well as other stakeholders in the industry. For instance, consumers will benefit from:
- Convenience. Besides the obvious one – easiness to switch between the operators as they please based on the cost and other advantages, and to manage more than one phone number at once – the hidden one is that embedded SIM concept will have influence on the phone size. They will get thinner and lighter since there is no need for a physical card.
- Cost – Saving. The competition between telecommunication providers will become fiercer, as consumers will more easily be able to shop around and switch providers. Therefore, to retain clients companies would have to reduce the price.
- Security. Since the SIM cards will no longer be physical, there is no longer the threat of thieves jail-breaking lost or stolen phones. For organizations, the eSIM card will also contain security information, such as private key information, which could be used in authenticating user equipment to a cellular network, and will make it easier to locate lost or stolen devices.
On the contrary mobile network operators can benefit from the the opportunity to take a leading role in the IoT market. They would also have the ability to provide convergent offers with multiple devices (for instance, the smart car and smart watch) under a single contract with the consumer more convenient than they would using physical SIM cards. Manufacturers will be able to build such devices as smart cars, watches, phones etc. with a E- SIM wich can be activated in any country in the world, so there is no need to partner them all.
Moreover, the market itself would go through some changes too. Without doubts E-SIM technology will potential affecting marketing, sales, channels and proposition building. Targeting and acquire customers will be easier, however, it will be harder to retain them.
So, the future is not far away from us. Nowadays, the development of the new technologies and concepts is not only a new topic for the discussion, for the companies it is a warning sign of changes. Revolution in the industry could be made in any minute, and to become a winner you need to be prepared for the changes. As for the E – SIM, whether an operator decides to take a role as a smart follower or an early mover, an overall strategy and associated initiatives need to be shaped thoughtfully now. Because, new entrants and new sales and service models will drive a-SIM’s impact on the mobile-telecommunications market in the next two to five years.