eSIM / Dual Sim… What does it mean to a Smartphone User…

Gone are the days of trying to find your ejector tools, or straightening out a paperclip to change your sim cards. The eSim has arrived in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max but what does it mean for us UK users?

A few hours after the latest Apple launch event and my shiny iPhone XS Max is updating to 12.1, I’m desperate to use the eSim facility so that I can dump my work phone and carry the one device around. It’s going to have to wait, I’ll come back to that later, in the meantime, let me explain.

Image from Hologram.io / https://hologram.io/clearing-up-the-term-esim/

Whats an eSim?

Essentially Apple have soldered a tiny Sim Card to the circuitry, this can be used to connect to a range of network providers who offer compatibility with the eSim function. To set the device up you use the iPhone’s software to pair the network up with your phone utitilising a QR code.

Essentially, you can have 2 lines running on the latest iPhones. The first using the eSim functionality and the second with the traditional nano sim. It keeps you connected to 2 different mobile networks at the same time, great if you want to keep work and personal calls separate, like me.

Dual Sim Dual Standby is supported on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, this means that you can make and receive calls on both numbers, but you’ll only be able to use the data from one Sim at a time.

The iPhone isn’t the first of Apple’s products to use the eSim functionality. The iPad Pro and the Apple Watch both have eSim’s, although the latter is an extension of your existing contract and must be on the same network.

Image from MacRumors.com / https://www.macrumors.com/2018/10/30/us-carriers-esim-support-later-this-year/

Why not just give us a Dual Sim Option?

Nobody can really answer this, however, those in Hong Kong, Macau and Mainline China can actually purchase an iPhone XS Max with a Dual Sim Card Tray, as eSims are currently illegal in these territories. This does give you the option of adding 2x Nano Sim’s to your device with an easy swap.

You can purchase these phones via resellers on eBay, however, at this time we have not tried this approach and would remain vigilant. We do not know how the warranties stand on these devices.

Enabling eSim on iPhones?

So long as you have upgraded to iOS 12.1 the function will appear in Settings >> Mobile Data >>Add Data Plan. When you click on to this the camera starts up ready to scan a QR code.

It enables you to name each line so you could have ‘Personal’ or ‘Business’, you can then choose the default line for calls, texts and data. It also allows you to set certain contacts to alway receive calls from one line or another.

At the top of the screen it will show you 2 signal strength icons, one for each line.

Who is the eSim available with in the UK?

Well I have asked the big networks who is offering the functionality of the eSim system, so far only EE have confirmed that you can collect an eSim pack from instore. Three have said that they are working with Apple and to keep our eyes peeled. No answer as yet from Vodafone, O2, GiffGaff or Virgin Media.

I’d love to hear from you to hear your thoughts on the eSim on the iPhone XS Max or iPhone XS. Would this be useful to you? Can you think of other ways you could use the system? Leave comments below and where I can I will answer.