eSIMs: the lowdown
What are the benefits of eSIMs?
Easier switching. Let’s say you want to ditch your current network in favour of another. With an eSIM, your new contract can be activated remotely there and then. There’s no need to wait for your new SIM card to arrive through the mail.
Multiple networks. With an eSIM, there’s no reason why you can’t house more than one network on the same phone. This may be especially handy for frequent travellers, allowing them to switch between local networks as and when needed.
Smartphone design. When the card tray is eventually phased out, this could mean more room for other features (battery life, for instance). That said, this could be bad news for fans of removable storage cards!
In the next few years, removable SIM cards look set to go the same way as the floppy disk. So is the eSIM alternative any safer?
In the UK alone, figures from the end of last year suggest that around 5,000 people have fallen victim to SIM swapping scams. Such scams are almost always used as a means of gaining access to the SIM owner’s bank details, resulting in an average loss of £4,000 per-victim.
When it comes to preventing data theft, the arrival of the eSIM actually makes next to no impact. The security weakness isn’t in the format; it’s caused by weak credentials, inadequate checks by the carriers - or a combination of the two.
In terms of physical device protection though, eSIMs potentially offer a welcome safeguard. After all, for an unsophisticated thief with no way of altering the SIM profile, a smartphone becomes much less of a tempting steal!