Bringing eSIM to the Wholesale Mobile Network in 2020
When it comes to the latest generation of mobile phones, most of the hype is about the camera capabilities, the screen resolution or, for those of us glued to our screens, the battery life. But there’s something else also worth your excitement.
While eSIMs were first seen in a limited number of consumer devices since 2017, in the 2020’s most mobile devices are expected to have eSIM functionality. Unlike the small plastic cards used for many years, the eSIM (the ‘e’ stands for embedded) is built directly into devices. The ability to embed the SIM means they are expected to feature in a whole range of products from phones and watches to tablets, laptops, drones and vehicles. Furthermore, eSIM provides a host of benefits for MVNOs and their customers.
A better customer experience
eSIM removes the need for fiddling around with SIM card trays and switching out tiny pieces of plastic when a customer wants to move to a new provider or changing devices. It also removes the need to go to a physical store or wait for the SIM card to be delivered. With an eSIM based device it is easy to activate a new service in real time. It’s a much quicker process which helps to provide a better customer experience. It also helps MVNOs innovate and offer bundled online services to address specific market segments. With online activation any device with a eSIM can be activated in real time.
Single device that supports more than one profile
eSIMs also enable customers to store more than one SIM profile on their phone. Like dual SIM phones that support two SIM profiles, this is particularly useful for people who spend a lot of time overseas and want to add a local profile to join the local network provider and have a local number.
However, the same feature applies to customers who want to have a business phone number in the same device as their personal number. Other devices, such as connected home devices or IoT sensors that track or monitor assets, could also be added on a single account. A provider could enable their customers to manage phone services and IoT services from within a single app.
New growth opportunities
According to market research by GSMA, the mobile economy is in a phase of significant growth. Between 2018 and 2025, they predict the number of global IoT connections will triple to 25 billion, while global IoT revenue will quadruple to $1.1 trillion. Within that, digital consumer revenue will grow particularly in the area of smart home devices and services. eSIM technology will be a fundamental enabler of these capabilities and the opportunities that arise from them.
MVNOs can take advantage of eSIM functionality to create new types of bundles and services. We expect a much larger range of devices with eSIM to come to market over the next year and beyond. These are likely to include Internet of Things (IoT) devices for the home in addition to smart watches* and tablets (*Apple Watch requires VoLTE).
This is where MVNOs could really differentiate themselves based on their relationship with their customers. For example, a retail or grocery brand offering mobile services could add eSIMs to their home devices and make it easy for customers to bundle home automation systems with their phones, watches, laptops in one bill. And if you’re wondering why you’d buy a connected washing machine, it could be so performance diagnostics can be shared with the manufacturer who can let the purchaser know if any servicing is needed.
eSIM for Telstra Wholesale customers
We are excited to bring support for eSIMs to the Telstra Wholesale mobile network. We are currently working through the necessary steps to offer the functionality to customers in 2020. Telstra Wholesale will be working with specific MVNO’s to develop eSIM based solutions for certain segments. If you want to be part of this exciting opportunity, please contact your account manager.