If you’re still thinking of eSIM as a side hustle, it’s time to change your focus.
Whether it’s for wearables, the Internet of Things or other extreme cases, most mobile operators can offer their network using an embedded SIM (eSIM) instead of traditional plastic SIM cards. But it hasn’t been the main event so far.
With Tim Cook’s announcement that the US will only use eSIM, carriers should rethink their priorities, as eSIM will soon become the main way to deliver services to your users.
The eSIM-only impact on the consumer market
It’s easy to see why so many operators might see eSIM-only development as a threat. After all, it will now be much easier for users to switch operators by simply downloading new profiles when they choose. For example, why would subscribers accept expensive and restrictive roaming contracts with their home carrier when they go on holiday when they could simply download a local connection and get better performance for a much lower price?
As travelers lead the way and it becomes easier to download electronic profiles, this trend will grow, leaving the old method of roaming deals in the dust and local connectivity becoming the de facto option.
In addition to the stickiness of the plastic SIM card and the revenue associated with roaming, operators will have to think of new ways to keep users around, compete for service and support. They will also have to consider new revenue models, one of which is local connectivity itself. The first operators to jump in and make their network available will get the most coverage, while laggards will have to follow suit or risk being left behind.
Roaming under attack: What does it mean for the Internet of Things?
If users no longer need roaming to travel and can download a local profile for a tenth of the cost of roaming, operators will have to accept lost revenue and the entire market will become much more complex.
Let’s just say it. Roaming has never been the right choice for the Internet of Things. Internet of Things contracts were built around user journeys on the back end of the systems running. For users, if roaming is economical, this is a great solution. But the problems with the Internet of Things are immediate.
Persistent roaming restrictions are a huge barrier to IoT deployment, as are data privacy regulations to meet compliance requirements. Security is constantly on the rise while roaming, and performance and low latency are also nearly impossible to achieve while roaming.
It’s time to call it quits. If roaming is no longer working for users, what was it for built, it just won’t go the IoT distance. Hey, suddenly we have a reality where local profiles are easier to download, manipulate and consume than ever before!
Welcome to the era of localized IoT connectivity.
Meeting global needs with a local connection
Rather than a looming threat, I think operators are on the cusp of an exciting opportunity. So ask yourself, what do your customers need? The truth is they don’t care about the underlying technology, they just want connectivity and they want it when and where they choose. That’s why we’re already seeing big carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile invest heavily in eSIM to take advantage of its potential.
The future of IoT connectivity is global reach, but localized. The on-premise part jumps the hurdles of compliance, security and performance, but JRT still needs to allow customers to maintain availability because the Internet of Things is a global business.
But beyond that, enterprise IoT customers also want more control than ever before. They need serviceability, network visibility and insight into what’s happening with their devices on the ground. They don’t want the connection to be a black box. As an essential element of their solution, being on the sidelines is no longer an option.
To become a next-generation solution for global data needs and the Internet of Things, and to keep up with market trends and remain best-in-class in your territory, there are some key points:
Enable customers to use a data connectivity solution via eSIM, not just plastic SIM cards.
Look for a solution that allows customers to use local instead of roaming for their IoT use cases, so you can deliver the value of a modern IoT solution and they won’t look elsewhere. This means that you need to make sure that the SIM cards you sell (plastic or eSIM) support multiple profiles, be it multi-IMSI or eUICC.
Ensure that application developers are given full visibility and control over the network services you offer as your IoT customers become modern and require modern, cloud-like solutions. For example, allow customers to view real-time network events, manage their QoS in real-time, and view their charges in real-time.
Offer these capabilities as widely as possible and let them use them the way they like, whether it’s an API, a web portal, or something else.
When the dust settles from the iPhone 14 announcement, there will be two categories of MNOs left.
First, legacy carriers that adhere to a limited roaming model are losing both consumer and IoT revenue and wondering where to go next.
However, the second group will be modern companies focused on future communication trends. They will be recognized for how they reduce roaming while ensuring they maintain global coverage, open the door to local connectivity and consumption, and promise customers unprecedented visibility and control through a modern, easy-to-use platform.