the eSim, i.e. digital telephone cards, are gaining ground and are increasingly being offered by Italian operators.
After the debut a little more than two years ago, silent and also a little complicated by the fact that few operators offered them (because few phones supported them), now electronic Sims are starting to spread. These are tariff plans associated with the user, downloaded and installed in the phone through a QR Code. The take-off is now supported by the greater diffusion of compatible smartphones as well as by the progressive pressure of virtual operators (from Spusu to Very Mobile), who have begun to offer them: there are many suitable phones, from the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S21 to the iPhone from model Xs to the latest 13, up to the Google Pixel from model 3 through Huawei (P40 and Mate 40 Pro), Oppo Find X3 Pro or Motorola Razr 5G.
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What to do with an eSim
The eSim are convenient because they transform a phone with a single Sim slot into a dual-Sim, giving the possibility to combine the main number with a richer plan in terms of data; they are very quick to activate and deactivate and it is impossible to lose them. But be careful: if you only use digital Sims and the phone breaks, there is no physical card to quickly insert into the spare one and you need to have the QR Code with you to reinstall it. Again: they can be used on wearable devices such as Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or Oppo Watch 2, disconnecting them from pairing with the smartphone.
How much eSim cost
The expense, explains a survey by SOSTariffe that examines the costs and advantages of the new dematerialized cards, is very low: switching from a physical to a virtual SIM costs an average of 8 euros. On the Italian market there are already some telephony operators such as Vodafone that offer dedicated offers with eSim paired with a smartwatch able to connect to the Internet, to make and receive calls even without a telephone and to do everything for which a data connection is needed. What is still not possible to find in our country instead are exclusive mobile phone offers for eSim, which are essentially marketed as virtual media by request in place of the traditional SIM, but not yet as products in their own right and therefore with reserved rates. For now they constitute the dematerialization of one of the many offers that can be subscribed: we look at the medium more than at sewing targeted proposals around it.
You pay even if there is no support
Obviously, each operator freely fixes the cost of the eSim which replaces the cost of the traditional card. For new customers who request the eSim when activating a new offer (with or without portability of the number) there is an average additional cost of just over 4 euros, to be added to the activation cost of the chosen offer. It seems absurd, but even if there is no longer a physical cost, there is still a figure to pay, just under half the cost usually required for the Sim (9.99 euros).
Even those who are already customers of an operator that supports eSim can obviously switch to the virtual Sim. Depending on the operator, the replacement can take place in the shop (which is a bit of another nonsense) or online, by contacting the operator’s customer service. On average, the replacement cost is around 8 euros one-off to be paid at the time of the request. Also in this case the meaning of it is not understood, since nothing is delivered in exchange except to the maximum a card with a QR Code printed on it: it is hoped that it is a tax destined to gradually disappear.
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The future of eSim
But what is the future of this type of support, which debuted in Italy in 2016 with the Samsung Gear S2 Classic 3G smartwatch, the first device compatible with electronic Sims in our country? According to a study by the research institute MarketsandMarkets, the turnover of virtual Sims was valued at $ 253.8 million in 2017 and could reach 978.3 by 2023. A survey by the British institute Beecham Research last February explains instead that 78% of respondents say they already use an eSim or plan to use it in the future. Finally, one Truphone study predicts that, despite the slow start and the uninspiring advance, by 2025 90% of the cards in circulation will be eSIM.
In any case, over the next four years 87% of mobile operators and smartphone manufacturers will churn out compatible devices, so the main problem should disappear. Not surprisingly, two thirds of device manufacturers believe that over 40% of their devices will be connected via eSIM in 2025; a further 19% expect most of their products to be connected with the new technology by that date.