When Edward Tsien booked a trip to Bucharest, Romania, through Kayak, he noticed something he'd never seen on a travel site: an offer to buy an eSIM to stay connected when he was in Europe.
"I've seen hotels, car rentals, all sorts of insurance, and even a tour package in my booking path," says Tsien, a computer research scientist from Boston. "But not an eSIM offer."
He'd better get used to it.
Selling eSIMs through a travel site is a fast moving trend. Kayak's partnership with Celitech, a business-to-business creator of eSIM products, is only the first in a series of agreements that could revolutionize the way you get connected when you're abroad — and maybe even, at home.
The latest phones have the ability to download an eSIM (short for embedded SIM) which allows you to activate a cellular data plan without having to use a physical SIM card. In the short term, that renders all of those little airport shops that sell physical SIM cards obsolete. But down the road, it could disrupt the telecommunications industry, making the need for cellular plans as dated as a rotary phone.