Hot on the heels of Orange Wholesale France (OWF) launching an embedded SIM (eSIM) for light mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in a partnership with Prixtel, European MNVO eSIM.net Group is claiming to have launched the world’s first 5G eSIM service.
eSIM technology is designed to remove physical SIM cards for improved user experience. With an eSIM, consumers will be able to manage new subscriptions – or transfer existing ones – to eSIM-enabled devices in seconds, without having to visit a retail store. The number of eSIM devices is predicted to increase rapidly, reaching billions of users in the next few years. Indeed, in January 2020, analyst Ovum predicted in its Device Sales Forecast Report: 2019-24 that this year, 5% of all smartphones will be eSIM-enabled, rising to 20% by 2024.
eSIM.net’s store’s flagship product, the Pay As You Go eSIM service, was first announced for 3G and 4G networks earlier in 2020, and was said to be Europe’s first offering of this kind to come powered with full mobile services and work on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The new plan can operate over the 5G network in nine countries, with more destinations being added on a weekly basis. The Pay As You Go eSIM plan is downloaded over the internet and is designed to help users connect to affordable mobile services across the world. The plan is purchased online with an initial $10 of credit, and can then be topped up using eSIM.net’s website or app, which is available in the Apple and Google Play stores.
The 5G eSIM service is only compatible with 5G-supported devices that also support eSIM, including selected Samsung S20, Fold and Flip models, and select Huawei P40 devices. It currently works in Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Monaco, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. Elsewhere, the Pay As You Go eSIM plan utilises 4G or 3G technology to connect its user to data and voice services.
“It’s exciting to be at the forefront of eSIM and 5G technology,” said eSIM.net product manager James Ashby. “And being able to offer the fastest eSIM data service is a great place to be. The fact that our Pay As You Go product also includes a telephone number for voice and SMS is just another added bonus for our customers.
“As new 5G destinations open up, we’ll be the first to pass along this opportunity to our customers. It’ll be an interesting year ahead as 5G develops and we see more individuals using this technology in their daily lives. 5G routers are already being used in homes to speed up broadband connections, and there’s sure to be a huge rise in the availability of 5G handsets in the next year.”
In its deal with OWF, Prixtel customers will be able to download an eSIM card to such smartphones that support this functionality and will no longer need to wait to receive their physical SIM in the post to start using their plan. By allowing almost instant digital use by its new customers, OWF claims the technology offers a clear competitive advantage against a backdrop of fierce competition in the French mobile phone sector.
The eSIM functionality offered by OWF complies with GSMA standards developed for all operators worldwide. The functionality is designed to allow MVNO customers to enjoy new services. For users, it means simplicity, said OWF, with no need for an adapter, or inserting or removing a SIM card. Users just use their preferred operator’s mobile plan by downloading and activating their profile.