Google is expanding Pixel 3 eSIM support to more carriers around the world
eSIM is the latest and greatest iteration of the SIM card, in that it doesn’t even have a physical form. Rather than putting a SIM card in your phone or watch, you can effectively store the SIM data on the device itself. Gone are the days of fumbling about with a tiny piece of plastic and trying to put it in your phone, when instead you can simply scan a SIM card onto your device. Google first tried it out on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, allowing Google Fi users to try it out, and brought it to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL this year. Now it’s not just on Google Fi, as you can get it all around the world—but only on the Pixel 3 series.
In a blog post on Google’s website, they announced that eSIM support will be released in Germany through Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, Sprint in the US, EE in the UK, Airtel and Reliance Jio in India, and Truphone and Gigsky in various other countries. We’ll see more and more of these carriers support it in the coming months. eSIM isn’t just aimed at smartphones and will allow the likes of smartwatches and Chromebooks to integrate mobile data capabilities without having to build extra space for a SIM card slot. The inclusion of a SIM card slot (particularly in smartwatches) may also make it harder for manufacturers to waterproof their devices.
This isn’t really new information, and more solidifies what users had already found out. Google appears to have opened up eSIM support on the Pixel 3 to any carrier that supports it, rather than certain carriers in particular. There are limitations though on the Pixel 3, including that you can only use either a physical SIM card or an eSIM card at any given time, but not both. This is because both devices only come with one IMEI, so it can’t be registered on two networks at once. Still, it opens up the chance for device manufacturers to offer dual SIM support even with only one SIM card slot.
In order to encourage device manufacturers to support eSIM, Google will also be launching a program that helps Android device OEMs to build eSIM-compatible smartphones. Google already has documentation for supporting eSIM cards within Android. The iPhone X launched with eSIM support along with the Apple Watch as well. With more companies supporting it, it’ll slowly become commonplace across the globe.
Google is clearly pushing the eSIM specification, and this likely means that we’ll see support rolled out in even more countries in the future. Some big carriers are already getting support, so as more devices launch with eSIM capabilities then we may soon be saying goodbye to the small, plastic SIM card.Source: Google
This article was updated on September 4, 2019, to reflect the fact that only the Pixel 3 supports subscribing to additional network carriers via eSIM.