Airtel CEO pitches for shift to eSIMs: Why is it beneficial for users, telcos?

In an email to all Airtel subscribers on Tuesday, Gopal Vittal, chief executive of Bharti Airtel, advocated for a shift from physical SIMs to eSIMs.

Gopal Vittal, Bharti Airtel’s chief executive for India and South Asia(REUTERS)

An eSIM allows you to activate a mobile plan from your network provider without having to use a physical SIM. Vittal said that use of digital SIM card gives an added security features and acts as a deterrent to theft as non-removability of eSIMs allows easier tracking of lost smartphone.

“In these times of digital first lifestyles, where mobiles, tablets and watches are all interconnected, the e-SIM will provide seamless connectivity for you,” Gopal Vittal, CEO & MD, Bharti Airtel said, illustrating benefits of eSIM.

“When going for a morning jog, now Airtel e-SIM users can just wear their smartwatch and be connected to their phone without having to physically carry it,” he said.

Airtel said users can convert their physical SIMs into e-SIMs seamlessly via Airtel Thanks app.

Pros of using eSIM

• Activating an eSIM as there is no need for manual insertion or sim ejector pin; just scan a QR code for quick and easy activation.

• Faster activation compared to physical SIM cards, reducing wait time.

• A single eSIM can store multiple network profiles (up to 3 or 5), eliminating the need for carrying multiple physical SIM cards.

• eSIM requires no separate slot, thus allows manufacturers to allocate saved space for enhanced features like improved battery capacity, faster CPUs, and better protection against dust and water

Some cons of using eSIMs

• The eSIM lacks the convenience of physically swapping cards, hindering quick device changes, especially in emergencies.

• Presently, eSIM is supported by a restricted number of premium phones. Affordability issues make eSIM usage less accessible for the average user.

• The mid and small-range mobile phone lack eSIM compatibility thus offering fewer choices to users.

How will eSIM benefit telecom operators?

eSIM technology simplifies operators’ entry into emerging markets like automotive, wearables, and consumer electronics, GSMA’s Whitepaper on eSIM notes.

Eliminating SIM card distribution costs, eSIMs open avenues for innovative distribution models in device marketing and subscription services, the report adds.

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