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eSIM-only: could the iPhone 14 mean the end of the physical SIM card era?

Rumours are swirling about a new version of the iPhone that will not possess a physical sim card

Published: Aug 11, 2022

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As Apple continues to innovate with its iPhone line, new rumors are swirling about a possible new version of the iPhone that could do away with the physical sim card. If true, this would be a major change for the iPhone, and could spell the end of the physical sim card as we know it.

Apple products are often precursors of industry level changes. Indeed, with the iPhone 7, Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack, which was a sign that the industry was moving towards wireless headphones.

After introducing eSIM on the iPhone XS, Apple is reportedly on the verge of offering an iPhone model entirely devoid of a SIM card port.

This rumors is not new and it had been going on for months now. In December 2021 already, 9to5Mac reported a possible leak corroborating Apple's plan to release iPhones without a SIM card tray. Right after that, MacRumors reported a similar information from an anonymous tip.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reports the same type of information about the SIM cards, saying they are "a thing of the past"!

Not "if" but "when"

Since iPhone 13, not only Apple does not includes physical SIM card anymore but you can also now have a dual sim setup using only eSIM!

This was not possible on previous models of the iPhones. While it might seems at first a trivial setup, it isn't. Apple even deposed a patent for it (better explained here).

At esims.io we believe this is a clear sign of Apple's will to get rid of physical SIM card tray and start paving the way for a more convenient future with eSIM.

The eSIM only iPhone 14 will be only for certain markets

China has been over the last few years an exception concerning eSIM. Current Chinese iPhones have two SIM card trays instead of an eSIM. It seems Apple makes an exception for Chinese iPhones apparently because of China’s resistance against eSIMs.

The fact that Apple is ready to make an exception reinforces our idea that not all the market will have an eSIM-only iPhone! The appearance of an iPhone version without a physical SIM card could be reserved for certain markets. The European Union, parts of Asia and the United States would be the regions that could see this SIM-less version of the iPhone 14 arrive first.

The general public but also international telecom operators may not yet be fully ready to embrace a physical SIM-free lifestyle. That's why we do not believe Apple would release only portless iPhones, but probably a completely separate version. In the US, for example, telecom providers could decide to sell this special iPhone alongside more traditional models. It could be the same case in countries that have all more or less adopted the technology.

What an eSIM only iPhone could mean for current telecom operators

From physical to digital

According to Jeff Howard, vice president of smartphones and accessories at AT&T, a fully eSIM phone is a "natural evolution [that] will make the experience better in the end".

Physical SIM cards have always been part of Telecom Operators' strategy to retain their customers. In countries that have not well adopted the eSIM technology yet, changing a provider and a phone plan means getting a new SIM card delivered, which can be a long and painful process, which makes a customer churn difficult. We can only hope that the spread of eSIM, which will allow customers to switch providers and offers almost instantly over the air, will push providers to offer more competitive plans to keep their customers and reduce their churn rate.

Could eSIM mean the end of phone subscriptions ?

Beyond the move from physical to digital and the convenience that comes with it, we are convinced at esims.io that eSIM might be a revolution that will share the telecom industry.

With eSIM, we have seen dozens of providers pop-up and create thousands of prepaid eSIM plans.

With an average American monthly telecommunications costs of approximately $50.00 per month in the US (source: reviews.org), eSIM might mean that more and more users will ditch their expensive phone contracts to replace them with a prepaid eSIM plan for data and a cheap subscription for their phone number, voice and text.

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Image source: reviews.org

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