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How to Pick an eSIM (Embedded SIM)

Embedded SIM or eSIM is a new feature included in different smartphones and consumer devices, enabling digital access to cellular networks whether locally or globally. Different eSIM mobile data offerings are being released from service providers and distributors, and consumers may find it confusing to select the right service. Besides the obvious "price" point, how can consumers really figure out which eSIM service to use? Here we briefly share the top features that consumers may consider to pick the right service.

1. Quality of Service

The cellular network(s) behind the eSIM determines the quality of service - speed, latency and coverage - that should be expected from an eSIM service. Embedded SIM providers typically share this detail and you can use it to assess which carrier network will ultimately provide your service.

eSIM QR sample

2. Activation Security

eSIMs are as secure as SIM cards. They actually use exactly the same authentication mechanisms to access mobile networks like 3G, 4G or 5G. But unlike SIM cards, embedded SIMs are activated online and not all eSIM's have the same activation security. eSIM activation codes - typically shared upon purchase and built into eSIM QR codes and apps - can include 10 to 20 variables (characters and digits); in general the longer the activation code the more secure is the eSIM.

3. Hosting

Similar to other digital products and services, eSIMs are mostly provided online. Service providers can be local or international providers and can have their eSIM either hosted locally or in a foreign country. It matters a lot where the eSIM is hosted, as an eSIM will follow the privacy rules and laws of the country where it is hosted. Accordingly, it is important to be aware of where your eSIM is hosted to avoid eSIMs that are hosted in countries with little or no consumer privacy.

4. Support

Certain consumers may find embedded SIM relatively technical to activate and use, while others look for responsive customer support from their eSIM service providers. Accordingly picking a service provider with good support is essential. But how can someone learn about such support before using the service? Online customer reviews and comments can be an initial indicator.

5. Price

Obviously price matters when picking a service, especially if you are considering a recurring monthly plan. But cheapest is not typically the best, and price only matters after considering the above features.

N.B. eSIM enabled phones currently include iPhone SE, 11, XR, XS, Google Pixel 4 or 3, Samsung Galaxy S20 or Fold, Huawei P40 and Motorola Razr. eSIM is also available in laptops and pads including Lenovo laptops, iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface among others.

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