In 2016, eSIMs were officially introduced as the next generation of SIM cards. Apple was one of the major companies to take advantage of them when they introduced them for their iPhones and iPad products.
In the Africa region, eSIMs are not as prominent with users having multiple handsets with different networks enabled on these devices.
In Ghana, the dominant smartphone brands are Apple, Samsung, Techno, Infinix. It’s not surprising to see the average Ghanaian with more than one handset with two different SIMs.
But it looks like eSIMs might soon become a new trend in West African with a recent eSIM trial test Nigeria.
What Is An eSIM?
An eSIM comes in the form of an integrated SIM chip. It’s a chip that cannot and does not need not be removed from a device. Essentially, mobile subscribers can add or remove telecom operators without the need to physically swap a SIM from a device.
Globally, only a few countries support the eSIM services with a handful of phone brands capable of supporting eSIMs. Those brands include Google, Apple, Samsung, Huawei, NUU Mobile, Microsoft, and Lenovo.
MTN Testing eSIMs in Nigeria
MTN launched its eSIM (embedded-SIM) service in Nigeria on July 15. Currently, MTN is looking to test the service for only 5000 subscribers while it’s in the trial stage.
The onboarding requirements will be the same as required for a physical SIM registration. Users will have to have a compatible phone which they will use to scan a QR code that is assigned to their eSIM.
eSIM Trial Launch in Ghana Coming Soon?
With the launch of eSIM in Nigeria, it wouldn’t be surprising for MTN Ghana to start a trial phase of eSIMs in Ghana in the next couple of months or next year.
There’s no official word from MTN Ghana about the trial launch of an eSIM but we’ll keep an eye out for any future updates.
The Advantages Of eSIMs
The use of eSIMs would have great advantages for both telecom companies as well as the phone users. Phone users would no longer to have to physically swap SIMs when moving to a new network. They could easily switch from the comfort of their phones or offices.
For telcos, eSIMs would help get a better estimated number of registered users on their network and would also help save them the cost of creating new SIMs.
Telcos would also have an opportunity to sell handsets directly to users which opens lots of opportunities for different marketing opportunities.
If and when eSIMs come to the market in Ghana, it would be interesting to see how fast the adoption will be. MTN appears to be leading the way on this front, leaving the other two telcos coming at the rear.
We’ll have to wait and see if there’s ever an update from MTN Ghana on eSIM trials but best believe, we’ll be the first in line to test it out.