16 August 2023

New Frontier: What Is An e-SIM and How Does It Work

e-SIM Card Packaging
New frontier

An e-SIM is an embedded SIM fitted onto the motherboard of a mobile device during the manufacturing process. Created in 2016 with its debut in the Samsung smartwatch, it does not require a physical SIM card and can remotely connect to networks. This means that the space required for a physical SIM can now be taken up with a larger battery or different software pieces allowing the device to access greater technological abilities. 


e-SIMs can hold several networks at one time in their memory, although users physically have to interchange between them rather than with the i-SIM, where the SIM automatically changes to the strongest network in the area. This means that not only do they offer users more freedom and flexibility, as a piece of technology they offer connectivity between devices which streamlines the processes for users in the B2C and B2B markets. Enabling usability and connectivity is a great aspect of the e-SIM, it may increase the competition between networks and give the consumer more power.


All mobile phone handsets on the current global market have a physical SIM card, and some of the latest handsets from 2016 onwards also offer an e-SIM capability in a dual handset model. Currently the US version of the Iphone 14 is the only mobile phone on the market with no physical SIM, only e-SIM capability. This completely rules out the option of a physical SIM and means that operators who do not offer an e-SIM solution miss out on customers. Lots of devices on the Internet of Things such as cars, tablets and smart watches now include an e-SIM, meaning that they are compatible with the mobile phone of the customer which they can be paired with, syncing not only calls but also emails and messages to all devices on the same network plan. This revolutionizes the way that networks operate but also the manufacturing process of all devices. And this is without even going into the i-SIM which is even smaller than the e-SIM.


How does it work? Users can connect to a new operator via a network’s app or website, so a user can create an account or sign into an already live one, and change their plan from a physical SIM to an e-SIM. Nothing changes for the user, it just means that the information is now stored remotely rather than on the physical chip, resulting in more choice for the user as well as the ability to remove the chip without any problems occurring in connectivity. There are of course some concerns with the new technology, (find out more in the BPAK article e-SIM: The Future Of Telecommunications) however it is looking to be – overall – a more sustainable, and secure approach for users going into the future.


Here are our top 3  things to know about e-SIMs so that you are prepared for what your competitors will be offering:



e-SIMs don’t require a physical SIM for users to switch networks making it easier for them to swap whenever they like, without having to go in-store. This means that your network needs to think – and still use packaging – outside the box in order to continue holding a strong business relationship with potential and loyal customers.


e-SIMs open up a whole new market for travel telecom companies. You may not be able to sell a physical SIM card, but that all-important QR code is just as valuable for potential customers to connect to while they jetset. 


Just because the e-SIM can’t be seen doesn’t mean your packaging shouldn’t be too. Packaging is just as important now as it was for physical SIMs, don’t overlook it thinking that it’s not needed, if anything packaging is needed now more than ever to help your network stand out from the crowd.


If you are interested in the packaging options available to your network for e-SIMs, get in touch with the BPAK team today. We’ve got a brand new range of templates ready to take your network into the future.