Apple Smartwatch 3: Taking the eSIM mainstream

January 10, 2018 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
With the launch of the Apple Smartwatch 3 last year, a small largely unnoticed feature might portend of a much larger trend, that of the eSIM. Apple is using an eSIM for the first time in their smartwatches to provide LTE connectivity. The key advantage here is the small size of an eSIM as compared to traditional SIM cards.

However, smartwatches are essentially consumer IoT devices and eSIM provides a intelligent way of enabling LTE and eventually 5G connectivity for IoT devices. It also enables mobile operators to identify and integrate a wide range of IoT devices into their networks.

Dealing with traditional SIM cards when it comes to IoT devices is not feasible due to the high number of these devices and the size and power constraints that come with the IoT.

As the eSIM is a hardware embedded device it cannot be removed and is much smaller than the traditional nano SIM. The eSIM removes the need for handling as it is part of the hardware, saving time and enabling designers to deliver sealed waterproof devices. As, the eSIM is software configured, users can change operators and access services via software.

Apple is taking the eSIM mainstream with its latest smartwatch. Though Samsung smartwatches already use an eSIM, Apple is expected to add considerable volumes to this market. What about other IoT markets?

For mobile operators to be part of the IoT revolution the eSIM is the easiest route to take. Traditional SIM won’t work due to size, inflexibility, clumsy handling and the fact that millions of devices need to be set up on a network. Software configuration and setup abilities of an eSIM can solve most of these problems.


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