With the next iPhone looming, is eSIM a worry?
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With the next iPhone release just a few months away, eSIM (the SIM that is entirely software-based) is causing its biggest stir yet. But how much of this worry is really justified?
eSIM is inevitable
While the newest iPhone is expected to feature an eSIM alongside its traditional counterpart, it’s only a matter of time before eSIM-only becomes the standard.
Indeed, it’s abundantly clear that market leaders are heavily invested in testing the eSIM waters – in addition to Apple’s rumored next iPhone, the tech giant’s Apple Watch Series 3 and Google’s Pixel 2 are already equipped with the new technology. Furthermore, according to Ovum, consumer eSIM device sales are already forecast to reach 8.8 million this year and will further increase to just under 150 million by 2022.
eSIM is not a doomsday scenario
Some have claimed eSIM could deemphasize the role communications and media providers play with users of supported devices, as it enables consumers to more easily switch between carriers. While this is a risk, operators will have no choice but to adapt to eSIM. It’s a little bit like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.
But instead of worrying about eSIM, it’s vital to get ahead of the curve.
Customers will, and have always, had the ability to switch between carriers. But now more than ever, making them stick, or enabling them to seamlessly switch back to your service if they leave, will be imperative.
Before the eSIM market explodes, communications and media providers would therefore benefit from connecting with the most prominent device manufacturers (Apple, Google, Samsung, etc.) to ensure they can seamlessly unite and interoperate. Device manufacturers would also benefit from finding a way to enable eSIM connectivity to the broadest range of wireless subscribers possible.
And because eSIM provides so many new revenue opportunities due to more devices leveraging the network across consumer, medical, enterprise IoT and wellness markets, I expect that adoption will increase significantly as device manufacturers aim to enable this technology in as many devices as possible.
The days of the “owned” communications customer are numbered
With industry mergers (AT&T / Time Warner, Verizon / Oath) that allow providers from across our industry to move into new areas, one thing is clear: the traditional concept of customer “ownership” has become a thing of the past. Instead, communications and media providers need to invest in offering a seamless customer experience across multiple platforms. And while these challenges will continue to exist with eSIM, new opportunities in IoT, providing seamless customer experience across multiple platforms and entertaining the customer also arise.
Soon enough, consumers will expect the flexibility of eSIM, and the providers who embrace it quickly will have a competitive edge.