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Embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) technology is more than a decade old, but it is only now really enjoying noticeable growth, making its way from smartphones to smart devices. Now a study from communications and media software provider Amdocs has concluded that users are ready to wave goodbye to plastic SIM cards and embrace next-generation technology in smartphones to unlock a wide range of benefits.
The embedded digital SIM enables users to activate a cellular plan from a mobile network operator (MNO) without the need for a physical SIM card in the device, and original equipment manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung are increasingly offering eSIM-enabled devices, while more than 200 MNOs in over 70 countries already provide eSIM provisioning and management, according to Amdocs’ February 2022 whitepaper L.E.A.D.E.R. – eSIM adoption, opportunities & benchmarking.
The new eSIM consumer pulse 2022 report, commissioned by Amdocs and conducted by global market research firm Dynata, was based on an August 2022 online survey of 2,500 consumers aged 18-plus across three countries – the US (1,000 respondents), the UK (1,000) and Australia (500).
The study showed that 81% of consumers were either actively in favour, or open to the idea, of an eSIM-only future for smartphones, while consumers who want their MNO to integrate eSIM into their offering (58%) outnumber those who don’t (15%) by nearly four to one.
In terms of functionality, consumers were found to be most energised by the ability to switch providers and plans in an instant, with one in three (32%) of the 2,500 respondents describing this as the biggest benefit of eSIM technology.
One in five (21%) found the reduction in hassle compared to buying a physical SIM card to be the most important benefit, while 13% were excited by the prospect of a fully digital experience, with no need to remove and insert a plastic SIM. The chance to avoid roaming charges when travelling abroad also attracted the interest of respondents, as did the chance to access enhanced device features and the environmental benefits derived from the move away from plastic SIM cards.
“As we continue moving closer to ubiquitous connectivity, this research illustrates the consumer’s enthusiasm for eSIM and the enhancements it brings to the user experience and sustainability,” said Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs. “We are seeing eSIM adoption accelerate across the telecoms sector and we expect this behaviour to continue as consumers and communications service providers become increasingly aware of the benefits and possibilities unleashed by this exciting new technology.”
Dario Talmesio, research director at analyst firm Omdia, commented: “eSIM is an opportunity for CSPs to deliver a truly digital and modern customer experience. With the smartphone market approaching the 250 million mark in 2022, according to Omdia estimates, communications service providers need to take advantage of such an opportunity to use eSIM to redesign their customer journeys, introduce flexibility and give instant gratification to consumers. If not, connectivity will remain the only digital service that cannot be purchased, fulfilled and managed online.”
Amdocs eSIM solutions are in operation at dozens of customers across the globe, including Vivo, Telefónica Movistar Chile, Cellcom, Pelephone and Orange Belgium.