back to article Keep yer plastic, says analyst: eSIMs aren't all they're cracked up to be

eSIM-enabled phones are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist – and consumers are better off without it, according to analyst Dean Bubley. The eSIM replaces the removable plastic chip card provided by mobile network operators with an embedded, programmable chip. Last week Bubley, founder of Disruptive Analysis, set off a …

  1. Lee D

    I think they miss the point entirely.

    It's about saying "My eSim is XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Please can I move to your service?" Whether you do that online, via the device itself, by entering a code on a signup instruction, or buy "buying" a little card in a newsagent and following the instructions, it doesn't matter. In effect, it doesn't matter whether it's a bit of plastic, there's no need for any stupid menus (that's a rubbish argument if ever I heard one),, etc. You just need a page on a provider's website with a place to enter your eSim number, some kind of text-message verification and, bang, you've changed suppliers to any one you want in the world.

    Don't forget - buying a SIM is not the end of the process. You often have to "top up" nowadays before you even start, so there's usually a need to do something beyond just buying the SIM .

    In effect, this actually bypasses the need for the SIM number itself, too. All you need know is "this is my phone number" and from there you can port the phone number and eSIM to any provider you like just by asking them.

    eSim is a good idea. It's not ground-breaking. But it's a good idea. Why we're all determined to rid ourselves of tiny little slots that take up next to no room and have been shrinking forever, I can't fathom. But if people want that, sure, it's nice and easy.

    "Hey, Vodafone, you suck! Hey, Giffgaff! My eSim code is XXXXXXXXX, sign me up!"

    "Hey, I've just landed in an airport, taken a leaflet for Spain Telecom, I ring this number, type in my eSim number, it texts me, I confirm, bang I'm online".

    Why anyone would state that needs any bits of plastic, interactive menus of contracts or MVNOs or anything else, I can't imagine.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I think you're the one who is missing the point entirely...

      Apart from ease of hacking someone else's account,

      There's also the problem of consumer lock-in that most phone providers would love to have !

      1. picturethis

        One of the rules of capitalism..

        Any time a commercial entity (in this case Apple) proposes a change to a current, working system (such as sim cards) it's usually to the monetary benefit (less cost to manufacture & end-user lock-in to vendor) of the entity. One could say the same thing regarding the elimination of the headphone jack or the lightning connector, the list goes on...

        Any possible perceived benefit (real or unreal) to the end-user is purely coincidental and seconday to the previous statement - and is used to lauch a publicity war on the users to get them to accept the change without them understanding the true impact and reason it is being made. - Basically most companies don't give a shit about their customers, they only care about extracting maximum profit from the user's personal worth.

        You see, it really is just about profit for most companies nowadays - it's not about being the best at something, or providing the best value, it's just about profit anyway they can get it - it doesn't matter how, when, why, who or what.

        Do you really think that any cost savings that Apple gets will be passed on to the consumer? I don't think so. More than likely, Apple will turn this into a profit center - after all, specialized software, infrastructure will be needed along with a surcharge - all under the guise of "security".

        (non-E) sim cards work just fine, in fact they work too well for Apple's liking..

        (As a side note, I keep reading about how millenials can't afford to purchase a home.. I wonder if not spending the $2500-3000 / year that each one spends on having a phone, premium cable, netflix, hulu, CBS, disney subscriptions and the $400/month lease on that brand new car, would help towards a mortgage - you can't have everything - grow up and choose what you really need - and not just something you "want") - For those that are being financially responsible, I apologize.

        Flame away, I stand by my convictions..

    2. DavCrav

      "But if people want that, sure, it's nice and easy.

      "Hey, Vodafone, you suck! Hey, Giffgaff! My eSim code is XXXXXXXXX, sign me up!""

      It might even become as easy as it is to change electricity suppliers.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        It might even become as easy as it is to change electricity suppliers.

        Regardless of whether it is easy or hard, the harsh reality of changing mobile phone providers is that it is identical to changing electricity suppliers - you simply move from one shower of sh*t to another.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge


        As title. Nobody ever switches electricity supplier unless they physically move. there is only one DNO in an area.

        No, not having a go at you personally DavCrav but the misuse of the term 'supplier' gets my goat. Telecomms is much more fluid as there are actually multiple service providers (although the physical line for a landline might be tied to openretch in a non cabled area)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Hey, Vodafone, you suck! Hey, Giffgaff! My eSim code is XXXXXXXXX, sign me up!"

      Certainly, Mr D. You just need to pay Vodafone the £99.99 unlock fee before we can transfer your number.

      1. Lee D

        "Certainly, Mr D. You just need to pay Vodafone the £99.99 unlock fee before we can transfer your number."

        They aren't allowed to do that now, and you just make it so that they wouldn't be allowed to do that in the future. Unless you owe them money, they are obliged to give you a PAC code for your phone number, which is just the same kind of process. All we're really talking about is going one level down to eSim number instead of PAC code (at worst, making eSims - which can handle dozens of virtual SIMs - add a new fresh virtual SIM, then getting GiffGaff to port your number to that eSim... same phone, same process, some end result).

        Look at the wording: Giffgaff take over the eSim, not Vodafone give it up.

        At worst, you're in exactly the same situation as now.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Christian Berger

      That won't work

      Of course your provider could put your IMSI (Subscriber ID) into their database, however to be able to exchange data, they also need the key of your SIM. Sharing that data with other companies is a huge security risk. Not only would people be able to make calls on your bills, they would also be able to decrypt all the data that is exchanged via the radio interface. There is only one carrier I know of, which will give you the key to their SIM and that's "Eventphone". They don't offer service to mere mortals.

      Instead many countries have something called "number portability", a partially manual process in which you can move your number from one carrier to another one with little effort.

      1. Mage

        Re: "number portability"

        Works after about 10 minutes in Ireland when you change Sim.

        Cost to unlock phone is close to zero (at operator, €22 for 3rd parties) as long as contract is up, or 9 months past on subsidised Pay as You Go (AKA "pre pay" or anonymous Sim).

        Phone subsidies are evil. They lock out some makers and increase "landfill" on contracts. Ordinary network users are then also subsidising those "buying" high end phones "free on contract".

        They need banned.

        1. a_yank_lurker

          Re: "number portability"

          On this side of the pond in 'feral land', you have number portability. All it takes is signing up with a new carrier and getting a new SIM. If you do it right there is no cost to you. Also, some carriers are pay as you go and you buy the phone outright. Other than laziness and no pressing need or desire to change I can change any time as I am a pay as you go plane and own my phones outright.

          1. Christian Berger

            Re: "number portability"

            In Germany htere's a maximum amount of money carriers can charge to port the number. I think it's 20 Euros. However the new carrier typically will give you a rebate of 20 Euros when you port an old number to it.

        2. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: "number portability"

          indeed Mage. I've only ever owned two 'tied to a network' phones (circa 1997 and 1998). Yes, I had to get a new phone after a year, because the deal was only available from Orange (now half of EE) on a boxed kit with new phone, sim, leather pouch (remember them?) and 12 months prepaid (over 30 mins per month billable).

          So I ended up with two identical phones. It was fortunate the market moved slower in them days... the phones were identical so i ended up with four batteries, 2 chargers, etc. (necessary with early motorola handhelds).

          But it did strike me as an amazing waste of resources that simply paying for an extra year cost MORE than entire new set of kit. So when I finally ditched the orange phones in 2001ish, I bought unlocked nokias which I continued to use till 2010, when I bought my first smartphone. A Galaxy A3. Outright. for cash.

          Provider keeps trying to tempt me with free phones. But if i question them, it turns out the phone is NOT free, it's 'subsidized provided i sign up for xx months'. They've quit calling me recently after being told to stop lying to me

          1. xpz393

            Re: "number portability"

            Ah, Orange "Boxed & Ready" - I remember flogging those... £150-£200 one-off for 12 months line rental, and 15min per month included. Back in the days when companies were more interested in capital (consumer buys) than revenue (consumer leases) approach of today.

            The first inception included a Motorola MR20 handset, which had key features such as caller ID, and the ability to receive SMS. This was later replaced by the MR30, which had a slightly longer battery life, and could also send SMS. The MR20 and MR30 batteries were indeed interchangeable. Orange eventually upped the monthly allowance from 15 to 30 minutes.

            If I recall correctly, the package was eventually killed off with its third and final handset, the Motorola c520, though by that point, pre-paid had become a cheaper proposition for light users.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eSIM? This analyst is behind the times

    It's all about iSIM these days.

  4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Maybe the mobile operators need a better business model ?

    One that aims to share infrastructure rather than duplicating it.

    1. Christian Berger

      "One that aims to share infrastructure rather than duplicating it."

      The expensive infrastructure (buildings) are already shared. It's rare to find a site where you only have one. In fact usually they even use the same antennas.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eSim? Still struggling with Paper-Sims

    Just wondering if anyone else runs into this. I've been struggling with paper / cardboard Sims for years, even wrecking phones as a result of the 3-part cardboard Sim coming apart when taking the Sim out of the slot. The underlying pins get caught up in the 3 layers of crappy designed cardboard.

    Who the hell designed this system? Why is a Sim built on cardboard instead of plastic or something more rigid anyway. Anyone know... I just love when you have to swap Sims between a full-size and micro size phone a few times on holiday etc, and the Sim is shredded after 2/3 goes. WTF?

    1. James 51

      Re: eSim? Still struggling with Paper-Sims

      Those multi sims are designed so they don't need a specfic version for the older phones that take a full sized sim, or less older phones that take the mid sized sim or the ones that have the micro-floss edging around them now. You're suppose to be able to pop out the one you want, in theory anyway.

    2. ivan5

      Re: eSim? Still struggling with Paper-Sims

      I've been struggling with paper / cardboard Sims for years,

      Where on earth do you get cardboard Sims? All the ones I've used are plastic and have been for years.

      If you find yourself needing to change Sims frequently maybe you need to invest in a dual Sim phone.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: 'If you find yourself needing to change Sims frequently invest in a dual Sim phone'

          Never seen a cardboard SIM, they have always been plastic like a credit card and can't be "torn by hand."

          What medieval backwoods are you living in that uses a cardboard SIM?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 'If you find yourself needing to change Sims frequently invest in a dual Sim phone'

            Also as regards 'Dual Sim' there's another significant aspect. Privacy! Google and WhatsApp are heavily used in our region and line of work (nothing we can do about it). But its not at all clear if both Sim's contacts can be slurped. We don't want that...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Anyone got a link / pic of a 'Plastic' SIM?

              This is what we're stuck with. Western Europe / Latam:

              These bend & break easily, and are tearable by hand:


            2. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: 'If you find yourself needing to change Sims frequently invest in a dual Sim phone'

              Does anyone keep their contacts on a SIM these days? I keep mine on my Exchange server. iCloud, Google, etc provide a similar service.

            3. eldakka Silver badge

              Re: 'If you find yourself needing to change Sims frequently invest in a dual Sim phone'

              Also as regards 'Dual Sim' there's another significant aspect. Privacy! Google and WhatsApp are heavily used in our region and line of work (nothing we can do about it).

              Don't use the same phone and SIMs for both work and personal use.

              Have separate work and personal phones and SIMs.

  6. steelpillow Silver badge

    Built on IoT

    I do think that the idea of a few bleeps and the user is happy is more attractive to everybody than managing little pieces of plastic, so it will probably happen.

    Given that IoT eSIMs must be serviced reliably, it is hard to see how the telcos can block smartphones from the same flexibility. I'd just download a "pretend I'm my Skoda" app to my Gemini. (Yes I do have one, and very futuristic it feels too: all that "retro" shit is just that, shit. I digress.) Um, now what's Indiegogo's url?....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought the "purpose" of eSIM was vendor lock-in? If there is no SIM card, they can make completely locked down phones which we can't change networks on...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite. Most people on the left side of the pond never have got the point of SIMs - deliberately in the case of corporates.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Yes, the rejection of the SIM concept struck me when I moved to leftpondia in 2000. They were selling 'digital' cellphones with no sim slot... I was ...perplexed. Turns out it was some cdma halfbreed

    2. Ben Tasker

      IIRC the US networks tried very hard (and may have succeeded) to have a "lock" included in the e-SIM spec so that they could network lock the e-SIM itself, rather than just the phone.

      Ah, here we are, they even (allegedly) managed to get the GSMA to go along with it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It would be yet another step to reduce the chances of being able to repair a phone, just as with non-replaceable batteries and SD cards.

  9. Spanners Silver badge

    Do not want.

    In fact, "do not want" is not strong enough.

    "Really, really want not to have this" is a better description.

    Phone companies across the world look to the US to see how customers can be properly abused and locked in.That is why they talk enthusiastically about the iSIM. It will enable them to tell us what we want.

  10. Bavaria Blu

    solution looking for a problem

    If you're a rich corporate user, your company will have purchased a global roaming plan with enough data.If you're a tourist going to a non-EU / roam like home country then buy a local SIM at a supermarket or the airport, pop it in an off you go. Huawei have had dual SIM for a while, hopefully it will catch on with Apple / Samsung as standard.

    Much more interesting is the problem when roaming that your internet traffic is routed all the way back to your home country and then to whichever website you're on. That means a very sluggish response (That, and the problem that roaming is often 3g even with 4 plans!)

    Also it confused geoblocked websites. View the BBC homepage in the UK with a foreign SIM and you'll see the .com with all the adverts.

  11. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Why does Apple want eSIMs?

    Since Apple helped develop the original spec, presumably with saving space as their motivation

    Nah, it makes the walled garden a bit bigger: operators get to bid to be Apple's provider supplier for its MVNO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

      If Apple wanted to lock people in to an Apple MVNO they'd just build a SIM inside the phone, with no way to remove it except by disassembly, if that.

      The fact they don't shows that your paranoia is not justified. Apple wants to make it easier for people to switch carriers, enable support of multiple carriers at once, and have ways for software to switch between them automatically (i.e. when I'm home use this SIM certificate, when I'm in Europe use this one, when I'm in China use this one)

      The carriers obviously don't want this, they want to soak people when they travel outside the boundaries of their plan. That's why they've been fighting it for years.

      1. SImon Hobson

        Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

        If Apple wanted to lock people in to an Apple MVNO they'd just build a SIM inside the phone, with no way to remove it except by disassembly, if that.

        If they were to do that then there would be pointing fingers and people calling out "look at that, see how they're screwing the system" because it would be very blatant.

        By going to an eSIM then they'd have a system where you go into iTunes on your MAC and select the carrier you want your phone to be on and your Mac will then load the eSIM with the right information. Or it might be done via your online account. The crucial thing there is that it allows Apple to sell it as a convenience feature for users - while behind the scenes it means they get to control which carriers you can select (basically the ones that pay them enough of a cut).

        The biggest problem with swapping physical SIMs is simply the way that some manufacturers seem to have gone out of their way to make it difficult. Some make it as easy as popping out the tray and swapping the bit of plastic. With others you have to get the back off (that is made to be hard to get off, remove the battery, then find something sharp enough to jab into the SIM and drag it out - with reassembly being the reverse of the above.

        TL;DR No, you will not persuade me that if Apple goes eSIM it's for the benefit of the users and not for the benefit of Apple.

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

        No you've got the wrong end of the stick - no sim card makes a lock in easier. With a physical sim card I can just pop it out and swap networks very easily. On my devices I can buy a local sim when I arrive at the destination. As is mentioned I'd need a data connection to be able to get the details and terms and conditions of each carriers deals. Otherwise how would I know which one to go for with an esim. If the sim in my phone can be swapped out in seconds my mobile carrier can do bugger all about it. If I had an esim I wouldn't be able to just swap the thing out and the carrier I want to use has to work with the esim.

        1. DisruptiveDean

          Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

          The main reason Apple would want eSIMs is to avoid cutting holes in its devices for a removable tray, and also the need to dedicated 100 cubic millimetres or whatever to it, and the design constraints imposed by its location. It's about engineering.

          The main reason Apple will be reticent about eSIM (and being a multinational MVNO) is the user experience, from user selection of networks to dealing with customer service issues. It will also bring a ton of regulatory complexity, eg needing to comply with different countries' rules on registering SIM owners.

          My view is that Apple likes the theory of eSIM, and in the (very) long run might push it further, but it's aware of the practical limitations and will continue doing small-scale experiments for now.

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

            Have an upvote DisruptiveDean

            I hate apple like the best of em, but it's going to be the design considerations that drive them. They're definitely going to want a free choice of providers (now they've established themselves, in the iphone's early days, exclusivity and tie ins made sense, to get the brand out there). Now they're well known as ..well, a phone brand... so the more customers who can use their device the better.

            1. Charles 9

              Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

              "Now they're well known as ..well, a phone brand... so the more customers who can use their device the better."

              But the best way to do that is to find a way to have universal LTE frequency support, supporting ALL FDD and TDD LTE Bands so that they can truly be used anywhere in the world, regardless of the operator and the frequencies used (case in point: it's tricky to buy a US phone that works well internationally or vice versa because the frequencies they use are often mutually exclusive, for reasons predating LTE). Then they won't need an eSIM or anything of the sort: just pop in a SIM, ANY SIM at all and it just works: first time every time. That's the kind of ease of use the late Steve Jobs would be crowing about.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

        The fact they don't shows that your paranoia is not justified.

        No paranoia just healthy cynicism: it makes Apple the gatekeeper and takes power away from the user. If I travel outside the EEA I buy a relevant SIM: job done. If Apple was really interested in serving the customer it would reduce its margins.

  12. Mage

    eSim: not about space.

    Not needed even for IoT.

    I have a "watch" with a micro SD card and a Sim. It's not about space, Neither is deleting the SD card slot or the 3.5mm jack (control of content and a gimmick to sell expensive buds that need separately charged AND reduce quality).

    It's mostly about Apple wanting more control and more profit. Save another few cents.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how much money this analyst makes from carriers?

    It isn't as though consumers are hiring a cellular industry analysts - but carriers would. This guy knows who pays his bills, and is telling the story they want to be told.

    1. DisruptiveDean

      Re: I wonder how much money this analyst makes from carriers?

      I make my money from vendors, operators, regulators, investors & startups. Sometimes I do sub-contracted work for other larger consultancies .

      In most cases, I get asked to stress-test people's existing assumptions, as I'm known to be a curmudgeon and contrarian. Unlike some analysts, I won't sugar-coat things. My reputation revolves about being critical - many would say *too* critical.

      My Twitter handle is @DisruptiveDean for a reason.

  14. steelpillow Silver badge


    Nice thing about the Gemini is, the eSIM is not embedded. It is an optional slot-in and is removable. If you don't like it you can swap back to a good ol' vendor-locked SIM.

    Judging by the comments here, a lot of you folks don't realise that. I'm not sure that the esteemed analyst concerned did, either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Removable - OOPS

      @steelpillow For the record: readers of comments should note that the Gemini PDA eSIM is embedded electronics. It is not removable, as you have said!

      The Gemini 4G incorporates two SIM facilities, if eSIM is the "first slot" the "second" slot is for for a regular micro-SIM card, and the system software clearly separates the micro-SIM and eSIM. Prioritising is also enabled as the owner can elect to assign the micro-SIM to "SIM slot 1" or "SIM slot 2" (and preferred SIM usage is also optional within "Settings").

      As commissioned in the Gemini PDA: eSim will be capable of running several (7 or 8 likely) Telco/ISP accounts, not just one, but whether the Telcos are ever required to enable this is another matter altogether (I don't hold out much hope in the UK - Telco lobbyists rule the roost over Government and politicians).

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Removable

      Yes on the Gemini that may or may not be the case but there are no guarantees that this will be the case on other manufacturers products. Look at the latest version of the Apple Watch for an example of a non removable one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Removable

        @JimboSmith Apple Watch is part of the Apple walled garden, that I suspect exploits fanboys, although because of the size of Apple that is relevant.

        I believe the eSIM trend is better reflected by Project FI from Google, for the moment constrained to their own brand walled-garden premium products - but essentially providing multiple-sources eSim type of connectivity.

        I am posting here as AC, because I've got both a Gemini 4G and and Gemini WiFi worthy of any burglars' attention. I was fascinated/puzzled by an eSim apparently being present in the Gemini WiFI only version, and discovered that the significant chip is actually on the motherboard, but not fully activated, Long story short, Gemini 4G orders were high, Gemini WiFi only orders were relatively very low, and it may have been easier for the Chinese production line to place and solder all the 4G chips rather than make customised changes. Whatever, it seems to me that the cost of an eSim chip is so low, that proprietary Chinese brand phones will be fitted with them soon as a matter of course. I would like definitive data on what the eSIM licencing costs are, should be able to find out, but with the consortium of manufacturers I would expect it to be nominal ($1 perhaps).

        Given that I may be able on my Gemini 4G to have half a dozen ISP/Telco eSIM accounts - and Google FI is offering something similar, Apple has to compete.

    3. DisruptiveDean

      Re: Removable

      Don't worry, he does.

      eSIMs can be embedded, or removable. It's the remote-programmability which is the key. The original Apple SIM was an early, proprietary version of this.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Indeed, mobile telephony has huge market penetration in Africa. In fact, it has single-handedly moved the continent forward sixty years (it'd been stuck in the 50's until those mobile antennas started popping up).

    In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the most popular payment system is phone-based. In some places it is the only reliable payment system.

    You cannot have an economy without a working financial services sector, and that is precisely what mobile telephony has provided in that continent. In turn, the reason why mobile telephony took off in the first place is because it requires relatively little infrastructure.

    Huge secondary market too. Back in the day, you used to have the bloke by the side of the road selling his one-litre plastic bottle half-filled with fuel. Nowadays he's using that fuel to run the mini-generator that charges your phone for a small fee.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Africa

      In much of sub-Saharan Africa, the most popular payment system is phone-based. In some places it is the only reliable payment system.

      What about cash?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Africa

        Nontrivial amounts of cash are expensive to transport and easily stolen.

        Consider buying and selling an entire lorryload of insert-goods-here.

        If I have to physically transport the cash as well as the goods, I have less space and less time.

        Where is the bank branch to deposit or take out my cash?

        1. Charles 9

          Re: Africa

          What entity supports the currency that is the basis for the e-commerce being used there now? Last I checked, most currencies are fiat and require something like government backing to have any worth.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Africa

            They use their local currency of course. Same as when you buy stuff on Amazon - what did you think they do?

            Though there is a lot of trade done using USD and Euro in places where the local currency is considered unstable, eg Zimbabwe or Venezuela.

  16. Dave 126 Silver badge

    User benefit:

    I'd like to have a selection of handsets on the same number - though only one handset active at a time. That way I can leave the house with the handset most appropriate to my day's activities (without the faff of swapping the SIM) just as I choose my footwear. Rugged phone and wellies. Simple phone and trainers. Smart phone and leather soled shoes.

    It turns out this is perfectly possible using multiple SIMs - it's available in many European countries but not in the UK.

  17. DrM

    OMG, what ever will we do???

    How can we survive without real plastic physical sims!?!? How would it work?! I’ve had a cell phone since the bag phone days, with two networks, Verizon now – never seen a sim card in real life.

    I love it when people ponder how the future will be if xxx happens, when the “new” situation is already around, open for full observation. OMG, how will Great Britain survive without the EU!? Ah – like it did for several centuries before the EU?

    What tickles me is in this age of The Cloud, of everything interconnected, when you can set your house thermostat and pay bills from Antarctica, when you can share all your photos with friends online – you need to carry around this little piece of plastic? LOL!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rather than taking away more and more useful things like 3.5 jacks and removable sims - how about just making the thing run better/faster? So that when I hit an icon the app just loads instantly, or Siri doesnt do that annoying pause with the useless screen animation at the bottom while it decides if its going to comply with my instruction when I ask it to place a call.

    Fix that stuff and I might update from my trusty 6+, otherwise my money stays in the bank. Too many companies seem to be allowing thier design geeks to call the shots, I dont want thinner that has no performance advantage, and robs me of things I do want like wired cans and an instantly swappable sim

  19. Mr_Happy

    Yeah that is going to be so much easier at a foreign airport, trying to get through to a number that doesn't speak any of the languages that you do, text messages arriving in a funny script. Far easier to go to the booth at the airport, some generic sign language, hand over some funny notes and walk out of the airport with a working local sim

  20. DerekCurrie

    I hope this wasn't supposed to be an informed article about eSIMs (o_0)

    It's quaint to read Mr. Bubley's opinions. But that's all they are. IMHO he doesn't entirely understand the point of eSIMs, nor apparently does the article in general. Rather than waste time arguing over what amounts to ignorance, here are some anti-ignorance articles that are not a waste of time:

    How Apple Are Mixing It Up With The eSIM [2014-12]

    "An eSIM as described in this patent will eventually eliminate the need to buy a physical SIM card, make it easier to change carriers, allow multiple accounts on the same device, or allow multiple devices to use the same account. Thanks to Apple, it looks like it’s about to become easier to compare and change phone carriers, without having to get a physical SIM."

    iPhone With eSIM To Debut Soon To Provide Seamless Communication [2018-07]

    "What Is An eSIM?

    To understand better what an eSIM is one must understand the major cause that led to their development..."


    "A new type of SIM is called e-SIM or eSIM (embedded SIM) or embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC). It is a non-replaceable embedded chip in SON-8 package that is soldered directly onto a circuit board. It has M2M and remote SIM provisioning capabilities.... GSMA has been discussing the possibilities of a software-based SIM card since 2010. While Motorola noted that eUICC is geared at industrial devices, Apple "disagreed that there is any statement forbidding the use of an embedded UICC in a consumer product."... The eSIM is also within Google's Pixel 2 phone."

    1. Charles 9

      Re: I hope this wasn't supposed to be an informed article about eSIMs (o_0)

      So what's to stop a phone manufacturer (or a government) from locking you out of changing the eSIM? At least with a physical SIM, you can always pull it out, and there's nothing the manufacturer or any other malcontent can do to stop you other than physically detaining you (in which case you have bigger problems). That's why the move against anything built-in, and why I'm against things like sealed batteries and no SD slots: they remove flexibility and can introduce Planned Obsolescence.

  21. David Hall 1

    Bizarre conclusions / US centric

    I can't for the life of me work out what happened to the reg's journalism.

    This whole article should be prefaced - this may be true in the US!

    Since when did locking consumers to one provider reduce the incentives for that provider to provide a good service / invest in their network.

    Surely it has the opposite effect ? If consumers are free to move around - networks will be forced to invest.

    If only there was an example.

    Oh yeah right there is. Many US cities only have 1 broadband provider - so it's impossible to switch. Which is why my colleagues in the Valley spend hundreds of dollars on <100mbps broadband - delivered by crap service providers - where in London I have access to at least 6 options and pay considerably less for 400mbps.

    Crap journalism. Crap conclusion.

  22. william_h

    eSIM are moving more in to larger companies and their development as well, even if it's in the early stage of implementation

  23. Micah1977

    Wow this is a step backwards

    Using an eSim is like stepping backwards in time to the late 80s early 90s with CDMA and TDMA, where you had to call the Carrier every time you added a new phone or wanted to swap phones. SIM cards did away with that I can go online purchase new phone when it arrives I take my SIM card out of my old one place it in my new phone, everything transfers over and I go on about my day. with eSim we're back to having to get a hold of the carrier to delete the old phone add the new phone wait for the new phone to be provisioned and then I can go on about my day this is just so stupid.

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