If you have a recent single SIM phone and you use a telco reliant on Telstra’s connection, you might just gain support for two SIMs over eSIM.
Relying on a physical SIM card might be a thing of the past for more than just the big three telcos in Australia, as Telstra looks set to switch on support for electronic SIMs for its mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
It means the likes of Boost, Belong, Lyca, Mate, and Woolworths Mobile (to name a few), could soon be joined not so much by being forced to buy a physical SIM card, but rather downloading one and activating it over the air, essentially switching on a service without having to eject a physical SIM.
It also means that owners of a phone that supports both a physical SIM and an eSIM could soon have two connections through a whole lot more providers, as previously eSIM technology was found in just a handful.
Support for eSIM has been growing in phones over time, and can be found in models of the iPhone from 2019 and 2020, as well as in various other Android phones, and even in select watches, including the cellular versions of both the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch. In fact, this week, Google flicked the switch on its Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 supporting two 5G connections on the one device, activating 5G over both a nanoSIM and eSIM, a rather timely feature to be sure.
In a phone, it means the modem can talk to two SIMs, but on a watch, it means the wearable can stay connected to a mobile network even when the phone isn’t found nearby.
“Telstra Wholesale is thrilled to offer this Australian first product for its customers,” said Glenn Osborne, Segment Sales Executive for Telstra Wholesale.
“This eSIM activation capability for mobile handsets is a first for Wholesale mobile virtual network operators and will help to improve customer experience and facilitate an easier choice of providers in the Australian market,” he said.
In short, the news means that MVNOs using the Telstra network could soon let you join by downloading a digital SIM rather than using a physical one, though Telstra says the eSIM support on virtual operators won’t apply to watches, only phones.
That means that right now, if either Woolies, Boost, or Belong rolls out eSIM support, owners of the Apple Watch won’t see support, but owners of an eSIM-enabled phone will. It’s just something to be aware of when it happens.