OpenSignal blog: While eSIM adoption in the mobile market has been arriving for some time, Apple’s move to make eSIM the only option for iPhone 14 range in the U.S. is propelling the worldwide shift towards eSIM technology. Opensignal’s latest analysis reveals a significant surge in the proportion of users switching their operator among those who use an eSIM across seven examined markets — Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.
The switch from physical to embedded SIM cards threatens to alter how consumers switch operators and encourages operators to adopt new tactics to retain and acquire users, for example operators can offer network trials from within an app that provisions an eSIM immediately. eSIM also means the risks to operators of dual SIM devices that have long been common in many international markets are arriving in operator-controlled markets too, such as the U.S. and South Korea. Even on smartphones sold by operators, eSIM support is usually present in addition to a physical SIM, making them dual-SIM devices.
Google added eSIM-support to the Pixel range in 2017, Samsung added eSIM support to 2019’s Galaxy S20 flagship. While Apple first added eSIM to their phones in 2018 with the iPhone Xs, it switched to selling exclusively eSIM models in the U.S. with the iPhone 14 range in late 2022. South Korea is also a special case — eSIM support for domestic customers only began in mid-2022, before this point it was only available to international travelers. Notably, Samsung responded by introducing eSIM to a selection of its flagship devices in the home market, which had not been previously available there.