The two largest cellular network providers in South Africa - MTN and Vodacom - along with newcomer Rain plan to accommodate eSIMS by 2020.
As opposed to the SIM cards we insert into our cellphones, an eSIM is built into a smartphone.
On Weekend Breakfast, Africa Melane chats to MyBroadband editor-at-large Jan Vermeulen about the benefits of this system.
The idea is you're able to switch from network to network as you need to through hopefully a simple process, rather than having to remove a SIM and pop in a new one.— Jan Vermeulen, Editor-at-large - MyBroadband
Vermeulen says one of the challenges faced by network providers is to find a way to electronically gather users' ID and proof of address for RICA purposes.
Another is switching from network to network while keeping your primary number.
At the moment for example, if you're travelling to the US and want to switch to AT&T, your first number would be deactivated and you wouldn't be able to receive an SMS or call to that number while you are roaming.
For a lot of business travellers, that's a challenge, they do want their South African number to stay active.— Jan Vermeulen, Editor-at-large - MyBroadband
You've got to integrate all these different parts - RICA, number portability, all with this new technology.— Jan Vermeulen, Editor-at-large - MyBroadband
Vermeulen points out that eSIM is still a fledgling technology that's being integrated into high-end devices like the new iPhones and smartwatches.
It's going to take a while for this technology to filter down into more affordable devices.— Jan Vermeulen, Editor-at-large - MyBroadband
It's not just for consumers, there's an interest here for certain business applications as well— Jan Vermeulen, Editor-at-large - MyBroadband
For more from Vermeulen, take a listen:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : eSIMS - Do we need them and how do they work?