With the introduction of mobile phones, we got used to sim cards, and then mini sim cards, being part of the package of having a working phone line. Not only do these little plastic cards hold your phone number and other details, they also store contacts, making it easier to switch to another phone if need be.
However, as with most things, the need to change and upgrade comes for everyone and everything. eSIMs are an option that many are opting for, with the “e” standing for embedded. Given the raft of advantages these types of SIMs carry, the Maltese tech community is calling on local service providers to start offering this option to the local market.
What the local community is saying
Taking to Facebook group Tech Malta, the original post questions when eSIMs would finally come to Malta, and the person posting was evidently unimpressed by the repeated answers from local service providers, saying that now is the time to deliver.
Needless to say, the post got plenty of support from the rest of the community, and while one person stated that they need to continue advocating for this service, someone else was less hopeful, saying that eSIMs will come to Malta when they’ve been rendered obsolete by newer tech.
There’s an entire variety of phones that have eSIM-functionality, including all iPhones from iPhone XS until the iPhone 13; Samsung’s Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra and their S21 successors, as well as certain models of smartwatches for both brands.
Right, so what are these advantages?
For starters, it’s easier to switch networks. You can either call up the service provider you’re looking to switch to and they’ll handle it, or you can do it yourself online. Either way, you save yourself the hassle of having to physically go to an outlet, probably wait in a queue and have a sim card installed into your phone.
Speaking of switching, an eSIM allows you to have up to five different networks in one phone. Not only is that an advantage in case you want to have different numbers for private use, work and whatever other roles you have in life, but if you’re in a place with limited connectivity, you can switch between networks to see which one works best.
Also, we need to look at the bigger picture, and not limit ourselves just to mobile phones. Smart wearables like smartwatches and glasses also stand to benefit from such tech. It’s also easier for businesses to add new phones to their network, with personalised data plans for each user.
However, there are downsides…
The most annoying part of switching to a new phone would be if your old one is damaged. If it’s not working anymore, you’d need to download your eSIM data from the cloud and onto your new phone, which for now is a time-consuming process.
There’s also the issue of privacy, where these SIMs are more easily trackable. While to some that issue is of little consequence, in countries with oppressive governments, that suddenly becomes a big deal, and rightly so. On the flip side, this would be helpful if your phone gets stolen since eSIMs cannot be removed.
They’re also not invulnerable to hacking. We’ve seen hackers go to great lengths to get their hands on troves upon troves of data, but that risk will always exist, whether we’re using traditional or embedded SIMs.
Should the option of eSIMs be made available in Malta, or does the system work as it is?