eSIM vs. Physical SIM

SIM cards have become the easiest way to connect with friends and family for many years. Now, something most exciting is in the market, i.e., eSIM. Still, fewer people claim it is the best time to get connected through mobile phones, and some advice about it needing to be updated to adjust to this change. Many organizations are now turning to more innovative eSIM rather than keeping a physical SIM card. Still, every person is at ease with the physical SIM card that they can insert into their smartphone so that – they enjoy wireless facilities. 

The word SIM is the abbreviation for Subscriber Identity Module. This small, transferrable chip contains an exclusive set of info used to identify a cell phone in a smartphone network.

However, many things are changing these days. Now, eSIM has turned into the latest way of connecting with people. Here, these are some of the usages where the eSim functions can be observed, as well as the ways eSIM would be more beneficial than the physical SIM that a person previously used.

What is an eSIM?

It’s a built-in SIM (embedded SIM) that can’t be removed from your device. It’s a program-based SIM card that is physically linked to the motherboard of a smartphone. It allows a user to do anything that a person can be done with a physical SIM card; however – removing eSIM is not an option- at least by not breaking or opening up the phone and unsoldering the chip.

It might view difficult in the first place. For example, as soon as you travel abroad and use your smartphones with moveable SIM cards, you can then swap with another carrier’s SIM card – as a way to attain local coverage. That way, their roaming fees can be waived from their primary carrier. Similarly, in case – they wanted to swap local carriers. Still, they were also interested in keeping their phone; a transferable SIM card would be cracked out and easily substituted with the latest SIM within minutes. At first, you will think that it is not possible with this eSIM.

Further, the technology of installing eSIM makes swapping carriers even more crucial, in any case – in theory. Rather than – waiting for an upgraded SIM card to send or visiting any local store to get a new SIM card – all you have is an option to get your phone. And then, enter info from your shipper – by only scanning a QR code by going to the options of setting and turning on your camera in your smartphone.

If your mobile phone owns the installing eSIM facility, you will then search out the options of settings that enable you to design your eSIM, keep switching between carriers and lines, and manage accounts. Additionally, if your phone includes dual SIM, then the eSIM might even support numerous accounts at times – and then when you switch from one account to another, it will be much easier for you.

On the other side, it is different sometimes when you get your hands on eSIM because of its availability than buying a physical SIM. Some carriers take a long time compared to other carriers. To hold the seamlessness of e-SIM, and even – it is optional to come across fewer ones still interested in sending you the codes of your eSIM or else requiring you to visit a store as soon as you set up your smartphone. It is taking away several benefits of having an eSIM. However, all credit goes to many carriers who work rapidly to get closer to the times.

Another main advantage of the technology of eSIM is the space – that is empty by not inserting a SIM in a tray. Devices are designed in small structures as the chip of eSIM is placed on the motherboard of a device; there is no space taken up by putting a slot and SIM tray in your smartphone, so in that case, removing eSIM is not a concern. So in such a manner, it enables smaller devices along with large-size batteries.

The Pros of eSIMs

Following are some of the critical and crucial benefits of an eSIM.

  • eSIMs are more flexible: One can download the eSIM anywhere – wherever the network connection is available.
  • eSIMs are budget friendly in the market: The price of eSIM is as same as any customary SIM card costs.
  • eSIMs are easily installed and operated: It requires only fewer minutes to download and install, and you can quickly go with them.

The Cons of eSIMs

It is a fact that eSIM has several benefits – but still, there are some drawbacks – which are listed below.

  • The availability of eSIM is not for old smartphones. Because eSIM recently launched, it needs to be better-matched with the previous models of your phone, and – so if you want to get hands-on eSIM – you are required to purchase another latest model smartphone.
  • It is difficult to transfer data from eSIM: by having SIM cards, you can easily take them out from one phone to another, and your data is also stored in your SIM card. However, while having eSIM cards, you are required to download your entire data from iCloud to get a record of your text messages, contacts, and other media.

What is a SIM card?

It is considered as the more accustomed intervention of the 2. It is a Subscriber-Identity – Module that is placed in a crucial place and then slides into a smartphone, and it’s like you put something in a drawer and then close it. It is commonly provided by a carrier and then set with account info, for example, users’ phone numbers, and safety keys, to recognize and validate the users on their carrier’s network. SIM cards’ other purpose is also storing contact information – SMS messages. On the other, these characteristics are only sometimes used. And the reason is that these days mobile phones are much more influential.

If you don’t have it, then your phone does not even contain any usable phone number, so in that way, you would not be able to get or make any calls through a mobile network. However, the United States and many other States need those phones which can make calls to an emergency service area, even if your phone doesn’t contain any SIM card – however, it is an exclusion.

This small SIM card includes a mark on one corner and gold circuits on a single side – connecting that SIM card to the card reader in your phone. These SIM cards come in 4 different extents: nano, micro, mini, and standard. Thus one makes sure of the required size before they purchase it.

Most importantly, because installing a SIM card is not a fixed fact, one can easily take it away from a single device and put it into another device. It enables a person to upgrade their phone; likewise, there is no need to call the MNO. Removing the SIM card from your old phone to your new phone will automatically update the data as simply as possible.

Moreover, it is another best method to escape the charges of roaming. Once you travel somewhere, all you can do is set the pay-as-you-go service with a local mobile carrier at your desired location; exchange your daily usage SIM card, get a card from the local vendor, and here you will get a new cell number on their network. Further, one can also go for prepaid SIM cards at the airport, and in that way, they can easily use a local number. All and above are going to be active once they land.

The Pros of Physical SIM Cards

Many individuals might be influenced to have eSIM, as there are many benefits to choosing SIM carriers when they visit a different state. The following are some crucial details when using SIM cards:

  • SIM isn’t the newest mobile equipment: Mobile data carriers use SIM cards for their data plans. However, the technology of SIM is reviewing to provide better facilities in local zones.
  • SIM is not fixed: The smartphone batteries can be dead anytime – and might create trouble for you. You don’t need to worry now. All you have to do is just put out your SIM card and place it into another working charged phone.
  • SIM can be upgraded: In case the development of the chip for your SIM card is invalid or else in a situation of upgrading your plan, SIM can be carried to your smartphone supplier for an alternate.
  • SIM is easily accessible: Some people frequently travel and get a prepaid SIM plan quickly from any local shop or with any store as soon as they reach another state to avoid the hectic of removing a SIM card.

The Cons of Physical SIM Cards

However, SIM cards aren’t new, and smartphone suppliers have to struggle to update their connectivity quality, but still, there are some disadvantages.

These are the adverse facts about SIM cards:

  • SIM cannot be lost or damaged: Because eSIM is fixed inside phones, you can run your eSIM, and there are fewer chances of damage to cards. As the quality of signals also remains the same, there are lesser chances of getting weak signals.
  • SIM is limited – whereas eSIMs are available in a vast amount: those smartphones having dual-SIM let you change from one line to another – as per your convenience. Fewer phones are going out there with the functionality of dual-SIM, which lets you keep downloading and collecting a crucial number of eSIM facilities. And it’s the main advantage of not being limited by SIM cards.
  • eSIM is small: Because eSIM is small, it can easily fit with any new wearable equipment like Apple watches – other innovative devices that might be small over time.
  • eSIM can store multiple cellular profiles: There is no limit to storing the plan of your cell phone info; thus, it will be availed nearly any place throughout the world.
  • SIM can be easily hacked: Cyber attackers must spool with a billing-procedure security aspect to interrupt the details of your cell phone when roaming with e-SIM. However, the chances are high that the SIMs will be hacked – in case they are captured substantially.
  • SIMs have not easily located: Network suppliers control eSIMs through satellite, and this thing turns out your location is easy to track – if your phone is lost somewhere.

SIM Security Accreditation

There are two main kinds of security accreditation for physical SIMs. The most initial one is the EAL standard – which is generated by Common – Criteria to sustain the security level, which is accepted by the M-N-O community. In case – the company of a chip holds an EAL4+ certificate, then – it refers to the point that hardware managed to ensure that there are lesser chances of vulnerability. 

Carriers are ensuring that the dealers of their SIM are accommodating to this criterion that encompasses the physical safety of the chip, additionally applicable to both customary eSIMs and SIM cards. Moreover, the G-S-M-A also offers a Security -Accreditation -Scheme (S-A-S) for eSIMs as well as for SIMs by having distinct features:

SAS for UICC Production (SAS-UP)

This feature ensures that the manufacturing of the SIM carrier website fulfils the physical security criteria, additionally following the firm security processes – which are linked with the procedure of chipping and marking SIM cards.

SAS for Subscription Management (SAS-SM)

The feature of SAS-SM enables security auditing and accreditation for those providing services. It is also interested in offering remote-provisioning facilities to the O-E-Ms and M-N-Os.

How Do SIM and eSIM Cards Work

Once you plan an installing SIM card in your smartphone, it later connects your smartphone to the mobile carrier network. You can use it to place and receive calls as well as use data services, such as the Internet. 

The operation of eSIM cards is the same. However, because they are directly placed in your smartphone, there is no requirement to put them on. Once you decide to activate your eSIM, you would then simply scan a QR pattern from your smartphone or else enter fewer numbers, so here you go, as your phone will be connected.

eSIMs are comparatively the latest technology, though not every other carrier offers eSIM. Additionally, a similar concept applies to smartphone devices. Only the latest ones support eSIM.

How to Install an eSIM Card

The experience would differ from person to person as every carrier offers a kind of facility, and buying or activating the eSIM entirely depends upon individual experience depending on the services they get. The standard procedure of popping in an SIM card is no longer available; the flow of easily activated technology enables the carriers a reasonable edge.

The struggle to make eSIM more user-friendly must be beneficial for users, as shifting to eSIM seems like a good and long-term intervention – compared to keeping physical SIM cards. One can connect your phone to the carrier network by just putting the SIM card in a SIM jack. However, in case – it won’t utilize cards, what options are available for you to get connected to an eSIM smartphone?

It entirely depends upon which device you are using; either in case you purchase it with a cellular – plan or else – separately include your plan. When the carrier plan is purchased separately, you will get activation of an eSIM card which encompasses a QR code -which is then required to scan on the smartphone.

iOS: you have to go into the option of Settings, then click on Cellular or Mobile Data – then after that – you are required to click on add Cellular Plan; here you go to scan the code.

Android: a person can have their eSIM by going into the settings options, then going to network & Internet and clicking on the option of Add. They are required to follow the onscreen commands and select Use two Numbers once they are prompted. On the other hand, it might be different, and it depends on which version you are using on your Android smartphone.

In case you’re buying a Pixel on Google – Fi, then the details of your eSIM would be spontaneously added to your account details.

The Apple Watch comes with the preconfigured setting of eSIM once you purchase it with your desired plan, or else you also have the option of adding the details via the Apple Watch application if you do not opt for it. If you have a Samsung Galaxy Smart Watch – an individual has to complete the set with your smartphone application.

Dual-SIM devices require supporting D-S-D-S (Dual SIM, Dual Standby) on account of offering function adequately. The feature is available in the version of iOS 13 and upgraded ones, and in the version of Android, it is available on ten and above. D-S-D-S allows dual SIMs to have connected to the whole network simultaneously. As soon as you set it up, you will be required to select which lines you use to allow your device as a default line.

Switching from One Mobile Operator to Another

By viewing it from a theoretical perspective, eSIM makes it easy to switch from one network to another. However, it might take some time for this theoretical perspective to happen. Nowadays, in many states, once you purchase an upgraded eSIM, you will also get a physical eSIM pack – which is sent to your shipping address.

If your service provider previously offered you a SIM plan, then the flexibility of swapping to an eSIM is restricted to switching your current plan from a SIM to an eSIM. However, it would be accomplished within less than many hours or days; converting from one network to another between 2 different service suppliers isn’t made rapid by eSIM.

How Can You Get An ESIM For Your Phone?

In case – you are interested in using eSIM on your smartphone, your service supplier and device have to support the function of eSIM technology. For a customer, there’re two factors to the technology of eSIM:

ESIM Hardware

The eSIM hardware is built straight away in your smartphone – which turns out the option of eSIM in your phone. You will assess your phone’s technical specifications as soon as you buy it on account to make sure if your device supports eSIM. If you previously owned a phone, you will search for eSIM support in the options of “Settings” on your phone. There are so many sites from where one can go through the ways to find out whether their phone is supporting eSIM.

Programmable Software for ESIM

Once you purchase a traditional plastic SIM, it’s offered by your smartphone supplier or service facilitator. With eSIM, your mobile or service operator delivers an eSIM pack to your doorstep, encompassing a QR code and the code to activate it.

In just a case your smartphone supports the technology of eSIM, it will use the camera of your phone to scan the QR -code to configure the eSIM hardware previously embedded in the smartphone. The pack of eSIM also encompasses the code of activation, which can be added while you are setting up the procedure of eSIM if the QR code won’t work.

Where Can eSIM Be Used?

If someone talks about SIM cards, the initial thing that hits your brain is a smartphone. In the end, using mobile data and cellular networks is what it’s planned for. On the other way, its range of usage does not restrict only here, and the technology of eSIM expands the horizons more rapidly.

Laptops and tablets are considered devices that rely significantly on the website connection and smartphones, serving as a source of the Internet while you are not at home. 

Further, the potential of having eSIM is still ongoing. Since many devices are connecting and they are growing, it is the equipment of choice in numerous user gadgets. Indeed, its smaller size turns it out appropriate for designs where customary SIM cards would be unfeasible or unbearable:

  • Smart-watches
  • Health trackers
  • Movable modems
  • I-o-T devices
  • Home safety devices

In the upcoming time, since the acceptance of this technology evolves, we can predict more innovative requests. However, it is still a fact that many people are using adapters for using eSIM when traveling abroad.

eSIM vs. Physical SIM Cards: What You Need To Know

Your Account Follows Your Physical SIM Card From Phone To Phone

A physical SIM is just a piece of plastic and a SIM is placed on it. Moreover, the SIM includes your account info (such as your mobile number), then makes a connection with your wireless carrier network. If you plan to upgrade your phone, you are then required to eliminate the SIM card from the SIM tray and then cautiously place it in another smartphone. 

With An eSIM, you can Digitally Transfer Your Account from One eSIM Phone to Another.

The eSIM is built into your phone and removes part of the card. It might seem like you’re stuck with this phone forever, but the opposite is true. With an eSIM, you can quickly transfer your account to another eSIM-enabled phone in a few simple steps, none of which involve sticking a paper clip into your phone or removing any small parts. Some eSIM-enabled phones even support converting your physical SIM card to an eSIM to free up a physical SIM card slot for another account. 

Can My Phone Use Both An eSIM And a Physical SIM?

Maybe yes. If your phone has an eSIM and accepts physical SIM cards, you have at least two separate lines on the same phone. We say “at least” because some eSIM-enabled phones support up to 5 separate eSIM lines. This feature is helpful for all kinds of people:

  • Anyone who wants a personal and business line but doesn’t want to own two phones
  • Anyone who needs a local number but refuses to give up the city number they’ve had since high school.
  • Anyone traveling abroad with an unlocked phone needs to use a local SIM card from time to time to avoid roaming charges. Not removing your existing SIM card to replace it with a temporary one also means less chance of losing it.

Is eSIM better Than a Physical SIM Card?

It is one of those subjective questions where what matters is what you think is “best.” But in general, yes. eSIM has the same capabilities as a physical SIM card.

How to activate eSIM?

The eSIM activation process varies from operator to operator. While most involve adding your phone’s SIM pack by scanning a QR code, some carriers can do it manually. With that in mind, it’s always best to contact your preferred carrier to help you through the process.

Can eSIM Remove Once Activated?

Technically – it’s a no. Since you have nothing to remove, you can’t eliminate anything. However, users can access the mobile or mobile settings to deactivate or disable the SIM card.

Differences Between eSIM and Physical SIM

Technically, an eSIM and a physical SIM card are almost identical. The main difference is that the eSIM chip is programmable, storing multiple formats. So, for example, instead of taking the travel SIM card with you on a business trip, you can save it on the eSIM and activate it if necessary.

Form Factor

SIM cards are classified by subscriber identity unit factors such as 1FF, 2FF, 3FF, 4FF, and MF2. Each SIM generation is smaller than the previous generation. 2FF refers to mini-SIM cards, 3FF to micro-SIM cards, and 4FF to nano-SIM cards. Therefore, physical SIM cards fall into the following form factor. An eSIM is an embedded SIM card, usually classified as MFF2, which stands for Machine-to-Machine Form Factor.


Unlike a physical SIM card inserted into your phone’s SIM tray, an eSIM is an electronic version of a traditional SIM card inserted directly into the device’s motherboard during manufacturing. It does not require a physical card and is permanently surface-mounted on the mobile phone immediately upon delivery. It works the same way as a physical SIM card but without inserting a physical SIM card into the slot.

Network Switching 

Unlike a regular SIM card, an eSIM does not require a physical card and can be paired with multiple carriers. It removes the existing relationship between the operator and the customer while at the same time making it easier to switch operators on the phone. The eSIM is built into the phone via software where your signal is purchased over the cellular network.

SIM Profile

eSIM can store up to five virtual SIM cards, so you can easily switch operators if you find yourself in an area with poor coverage. A regular physical SIM card contains one profile per user, while an eSIM card contains multiple profiles, which is a significant advantage. eSIM is a logical format that can be reprogrammed into your smartphone.

In addition, eSIM allows you to manage your SIM card profile on other devices, such as smartwatches, computers, cars, etc. You can program it to work on multiple devices with the same eSIM profile. For the end user, this little tip makes a big difference. Whether you have it on your phone, tablet, or another connected device, eSIM offers many benefits.

Some of these advantages can turn into disadvantages in some situations. For example, when transferring data to another phone, it is undoubtedly faster and simpler to change SIM cards than to set up profiles in the cloud and restore them to the new device.

Since the technology is still relatively new, you won’t find it on older hardware, so compatibility is limited. And, of course, if you damage your phone, the module is gone forever, unlike a physical SIM card that can survive and be removed. Simply put, the situation is similar to wired vs wireless – while some of the benefits are missing, there are enough improvements to make the switch worthwhile.

The Similarities between SIM and eSIM

It is said that there is a stigma between physical SIM and eSIM that they are entirely different technologies and cannot be accurately compared. However, most people would be surprised to know that they share many similarities, such as:

  • Both connect the phone to your mobile operator’s network
  • Both can be used on many different devices – not just phones
  • Both identify your phone and the type of package you are using
  • Both can be used simultaneously on a dual SIM phone
  • Both are technically SIM cards

Yes, that’s right, both are SIM cards. However, a SIM card is a chip that is physically placed in or removed from your phone based on your carrier’s plan. An eSIM is built into your phone and automatically downloads your carrier’s plan.

Taking the Best from Both Worlds

Before choosing the best SIM card, there are a few things to consider – speaking of the exciting new technology. Though – eSIM support is far from widespread and may take a few years before it becomes a new normal. Even now, it has yet to be fully utilized.

For example, while it theoretically supports adding new IDs, you could buy a device locked to eSIM data plans offered by many carriers. Thus, carriers probably prefer to avoid the idea of users jumping between plans to find a better deal. As a result, it is still rare at this point to benefit from an eSIM card.

However, the best option, for now, is a device that supports both eSIM and physical SIM. This way, you get the best of both worlds – enjoy the added convenience and security when available and have a backup plan when it’s not accessible. In other words, if you want to be prepared for something, the answer to the question “Which is better – SIM card or eSIM?” is “Both!”

Choosing the Right SIM

When choosing a SIM card type and form factor for an I-o-T deployment, start with the cost structure as it reflects the business model of a particular device. For example, in the automotive sector, the price of the final product can encourage investment in expensive chips, as switching to a cheaper platform would reduce durability and safety.

If your product is a low-end device like a pet monitor, spending an extra dollar or two on hardware per device can kill your bottom line. In this case, looking for a cheap built-in SIM solution makes sense.

Also, check if the use case requires remote control. Although eSIMs are best known for this feature, all form factors are available for eUICC software that allows for profile updates. The GSMA has created a large-scale supply system for the I-o-T space, enabling MNOs to simultaneously offer large quantities of devices.

No Need to Worry About Old and New SIM Cards

A SIM card is supposed to be a combination of a physical chip and software that contains information about your subscription. However, eSIM separates hardware and software and allows users to purchase separate SIM software that can be installed using a QR code.

When a new mobile technology such as 5G is introduced, people first ask whether the old SIM card will work in the new phone. With eSIM, this problem seamlessly disappears because the SIM hardware is integrated directly into the phone, so it is no longer an “old” SIM card.

When you buy a new phone that works with a new mobile technology, you can be sure that the eSIM hardware is also compatible because it is made by the same manufacturer that makes the phone. All you need from your carrier is the SIM card software, which you can install with the help of just a QR code.

Remote SIM Provisioning Can Be Expensive: Although remote provisioning has tremendous value for many applications, its inherent disadvantages are worth mentioning. The SIM remote provisioning service is also relatively expensive, which fits poorly with the industrial I-o-T economy in low-cost devices. If devices are used in locations with insufficient coverage, network issues may be supposed to prevent the updates. 

However, if it’s in a remote area and you have to send someone to fix it, which is an expensive task, especially if there are many other devices on-site with the same problem.

The Future of SIM Technology

Despite the new capabilities of eSIM, physical SIM cards still dominate the I-o-T market, at least for now. In many countries, prepaid services are still the primary approach to connectivity, making physical SIM cards the most practical option.

However, for high-end I-o-T use cases that inherently have a higher cost structure and require high MNO approval on day one, eSIMs are the ideal solution. They will come into play for I-o-T connectivity, where device size and energy efficiency matter. In the foreseeable future, there is always room for all form factors and types of SIM cards, depending on the use case.

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