eSIM phone shipments could number at least 400 million by 2022
Most people connect their smartphones to mobile networks and the internet by inserting a SIM card - most of which are nano-SIMs for new phones at this stage. There is an alternative to this technology, however, Known as the eSIM, it is a fixed module within the device for the same kinds of connections. eSIMs can't be said to be hugely popular compared to the conventional cards at the moment. They are largely only seen in Apple Watches and some second-generation Pixel devices. However, now that Apple has come along with its late-2018 smartphone releases, that may all change.
With the exception of the Chinese market, most consumers will have access to iPhone XR, XS or XS Max models with dual SIM capabilities. Unlike most existing dual-SIM phones, one half of this feature will be delivered through a built-in eSIM. Thanks to Apple's uptake of this technology, the analysis firm ABI Research now estimates that eSIM-phone shipments will grow to at least 400 million units by 2022.
ABI also projects that Samsung will be the next to adopt eSIM technology, first integrating it into their flagship (i.e. the Galaxy S- and Note-line) devices, and then into their lower-tier phones over time. Other companies such as LG, Oppo and Xiaomi are likely to follow suit.
This may be bad news for fans of 'normal' SIMs or carrier-unlocked phones. However, ABI Research also believes that 'traditional' cards will remain available for the foreseeable future. This was attributed to the lack of eSIM support among the majority of mobile network operators worldwide.