Why is eSIM Not Popular?
why esim not popular

eSIM technology, or embedded SIM, allows carriers to switch carrier profiles without having to remove and replace physical SIMs, and has gradually gained ground in advanced phones and IoT devices.

Why hasn't VoLTE become more widespread? Certainly its advantages outweigh its drawbacks: no roaming charges when traveling abroad, faster switching between carriers, more space in your phone for larger batteries and lower costs are all major drawbacks of VoLTE usage. But why hasn't its adoption increased more widely?


Traditional carriers in most countries have strong incentives to make switching to devices using eSIMs as difficult as possible for consumers, including through cumbersome setup processes or extra charges imposed.

Visible and Google Fi are two challengers that provide much simpler processes for using eSIM devices, while still supporting only limited hardware eSIM-compliant devices.

G+D research with the GSMA found that many consumers remain unaware of eSIMs. Of the consumers aware of them when purchasing mobile devices - with Italy having the highest level and US dropping as low as 17% awareness- only about 20% are aware that an eSIM option exists when they make their selection - this poses a significant barrier to widespread adoption of the technology; carriers and manufacturers alike must address it to facilitate widespread uptake.


Carrier carriers, who control most people's mobile phones, have an incentive to make it difficult for consumers to switch devices - often through complex setup processes or unexpected charges that add up over time.

As much as the eSIM technology is growing more popular, major cell phone providers have not widely adopted it for various reasons - including not being compatible with popular devices, like Apple iPhones; as well as not supporting standard messaging apps like SMS and WhatsApp for it to operate correctly.

Ubigi and Visible apps enable iOS devices and Google Pixel phones to use an eSIM, enabling users to switch networks without altering their mobile numbers and saving money on roaming rates while increasing device value - something which may appeal to many consumers.


While eSIM chips are most often associated with mobile phones, their applications extend far beyond this space. Medical IoT sensors, cars and even home security systems could all benefit from using an eSIM chip - its flat design makes integration much simpler for these kinds of devices.

From a security standpoint, electronic SIMs offer several advantages over physical SIMs. Thieves cannot steal an eSIM without physically taking possession of it - which prevents port out scams (where criminals sign up with another carrier using your number to sign out) or 2FA SMS hijacks (where hackers intercept your 2FA codes to gain entry to private accounts).

Hackers can still exploit similar vulnerabilities as with physical SIM cards. They may gain entry to carriers to retrieve user profiles and information; and use social engineering tactics on phone company employees in order to have them change an owner's profile without verifying his/her identity during phone calls.

The Future

As with any major technological advance that is likely to disrupt an established industry, new opportunities arise for those willing to embrace it. Just look at Apple and how it has been quick to drop headphone jacks from its devices while other brands quickly follow suit - something which could happen with eSIM technology as well.

At present, most major mobile providers do not advertise support for eSIMs on their websites, while challenger carriers such as Google Fi and Visible do provide easier eSIM setup processes.

Still, many people struggle with setting up an eSIM card - typically by going into a physical store - which can be especially discouraging if switching carriers.

Skepticism surrounding eSIM technology is beginning to dissipate as MNOs and MVNOs recognize its value as a future-proof connectivity solution. With networks sunsetting and 5G coming onto the market, they need a way to connect their customers globally while optimizing ROI - eSIM is emerging as one such strategy.