The new Motorola Razr has caused a lot of confusion since it was unveiled last week. But this new phone is moving the envelope not only thanks to the foldable screen. In fact, the new Motorola Razr will only be sold in eSIM configuration, making it the first phone to completely abandon the physical SIM card slot.
For some, this is the latest sign that eSIM technology is an area where large smartphone brands see great potential, and the introduction of the new Motorola Razr is just the beginning. Although Google Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 Pro also support eSIM, they also have the option of a physical SIM card. On the other hand, the new Razr completely abandons the traditional SIM card slot, which is unique.
According to the research company Counterpoint, the global number of shipments of devices supporting eSIM (including vehicles) increased last year by 63 percent year-on-year to 364 million pieces and it is estimated that by 2025 it will reach almost 2 billion pieces in shipments. More manufacturers, such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung and Vivo, are expected to start introducing smartphones with built-in eSIM.
"Over the next 18 months, all leading manufacturers will launch high-end smartphones with eSIM," said Deval Sheth, managing director, Giesecke & Devrient India indianexpress.com in the interview. The German company that developed the first SIM card in the 1990s has become a leading brand in eSIM technology. Sheth says she expects at least 20 to 30 percent of smartphones in the next two to three years to support eSIM.
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eSIM, or "embedded subscriber identity module", is basically an electronic version of the standard SIM card that currently exists. SIM cards, including eSIM, have two basic functions – to connect and identify devices in cellular networks. But although the physical SIM card is "connected" to the cellular operator (say Airtel or Vodafone), eSIM is a chip soldered directly onto the smartphone's circuit board. Unlike a physical SIM card, eSIM is "remotely administered", allowing users to remotely change and activate the SIM profile embedded in the device. So when your smartphone supports the eSIM function, you have the option of switching to any telecommunications operator without changing your physical SIM card. Thanks to this, unnecessary trouble encountered by users when switching to a new operator will be a thing of the past.
Perhaps the real advantage of using an eSIM enabled device is that users can store eSIM profiles for different services for different services. ESIM is also beneficial for travelers who can switch to a local network operator, thus avoiding roaming charges.
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The ecosystem is shaped by the belief that eSIM has an advantage over physical SIM cards. However, using eSIM goes beyond the convenience factor. Thanks to eSIM, you can now design smartphones with thinner and lighter profiles, provided that there is no need for physical SIM sockets. After closing, the new Razr is 14 mm thick. The lack of a physical SIM slot could have played a key role in the extremely thin housing of the new Razr Motorola. Interestingly, the new Motorola Razr is the only foldable phone that has a waterproof nanocoating, making it splashproof. On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy Fold is neither slim nor light, like the new Motorola Razr, nor has it a waterproof design.
But the merit for popularizing eSIM must be the LTE version of the Apple watch. In fact, smartwatches will be a large growth area for eSIMs along with cars. Some of the best car manufacturers, such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes, support eSIM, providing real-time access to traffic information and remote travel assistance. In India, MG Hector and Hyundai Venue support eSIM for cellular connectivity. Connected laptops are another emerging category that greatly promotes the spread of eSIMs.
However, industry has shown resistance to an eSIM-powered mobile ecosystem. In particular, telecommunications operators are opposed to this concept and only a handful support them, including Airtel and Reliance Jio in India. Many are afraid that accepting eSIM would have a negative impact on their business because users can easily change service providers without changing devices, even without the need for a new SIM card. Manufacturers from mainland China and South Korea have also not played football and may be crucial to how big these trends will be.