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Apple is killing the physical SIM card in favour of the eSim

Apple has announced the new iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series. And for the US market, there won’t be a SIM Tray. So no physical SIM card. Instead, users will be required to use an eSIM. Which of course has its benefits, but also its disadvantages.

eSim is short for an Embedded Subscriber Identity Module, or simply an Embedded SIM card. Both Android devices and iPhones have had eSIMs within their devices for a good while.

If you’re in Kenya, this will definitely affect you as most of our iPhone purchases are from the US. Local official resellers have exorbitant markups. Meaning, should you buy an iPhone 14 from the US, you’ll be forced to embrace the eSIM.

The first mobile network to bring eSIM support in Kenya was Faiba 4G. Later on, Safaricom followed suit. However, with both networks you still need to physically walk to their stores to activate an eSim profile.

Airtel and Telkom Kenya are yet to support eSIMs. They’ll be forced to do so anyways. Because Android companies will definitely copy the move in the coming months. They did it with the headphone jack and did it with the annoying notch. They also did it with the chargers.

I believe from the iPhone 11 there has been an eSIM in every iPhone. This has allowed people to have Dual SIM access thanks to pairing the physical SIM card and the eSIM. Removing the physical SIM cards means no more Dual SIM access.

The good things with an eSIM only phone:

  • If you lose your phone, the thief cannot remove the SIM card.
  • Changing networks is easier and faster.
  • Roaming should be easier

But if you’re in a country where using dual SIM phones is the norm, you’ll suffer when trying to access multiple networks, or when traveling between countries that don’t support eSIMs. For example in Kenya, you still need to physically walk to a shop to activate an eSim. Which kills the whole idea of why they exist.

It’ll be interesting to see reactions and way forward with the eSIM technology.

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Dickson Otieno

I love reading emails when bored. I am joking. But do send them to editor@tech-ish.com.

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