It has been rumoured for a while now that Safaricom has plans under its sleeve to launch eSIM support for a bunch of phones in Kenya.
This was confirmed in the changelog of the mySafaricom app update that went live a few days ago.
The logs state that Safaricom customers can activate dual/eSIM on their devices – but the changes are only limited to Apple devices.
For those who may not be aware, eSIM is likely the next big thing in the world of cellular devices. We are all aware of ordinary SIM cards, which have since shrunk in size to what we currently have (nano SIM).
However, things have been going pretty fast in the technology world.
eSIM is finally here, and as its name suggests (embedded SIM), it is built into your phone.
It works as your ordinary SIM card, and as said, it only appears to be compatible with Safaricom now.
It being part of your phone’s board implies that it re-writable – but that means nothing to Kenyans because other carriers have not picked it, yet.
Customer credentials, which are ordinarily written on your ordinary SIM card, are downloadable on eSIM. This basically means that the chip work as a normal SIM card.
eSIMs are also very tiny: for instance, your normal nano SIM is 8.8 mm by 12.3 mm, whereas eSIM is 2.5 mm by 2.3 mm with a thickness of 0.2 mm.
The small size brings one key advantage to the table: phone makers can design smaller devices, with more Ingress Protection numbers.
Other advantages are as follows: customers would be onboarded to a network seamlessly, that is, eSIM supported devices are active as soon as they are powered on. Since it is re-writable, users can redownload other profiles, especially those that are always travelling. The outcome? Lower roaming fees.
Safaricom will also see its logistics and support simplified because they wouldn’t be managing SIM cards any more (for supported groups) because that function is now dedicated to the customer.
Basically, these are some of the many benefits that customers will get to enjoy.
Lastly, the following devices have eSIMs built into them, which means that there is a possibility of them being part of the development in the future: iPhones (accessed locally via many Apple vendors), Samsung Galaxy S20 and S21 series, Galaxy Note20, Galaxy Fold, Huawei P40 series (not sold in Kenya) and select models of the Google Pixel (also not sold in Kenya).
For now, only iPhones and high-end Galaxy devices are likely candidates of eSIM support.