Mobile operators moving too slowly on eSIM adoption, say device manufacturers

Mobile operators moving too slowly on eSIM adoption, say device manufacturers

Research predicts almost 90% market penetration for eSIM by 2025
A fifth of device makers will have almost every device connected via eSIM within the next four years.

New research by Truphone has found that almost nine tenths (87%) of both mobile operators and device manufacturers around the world plan to implement eSIM in the next four years.

The full report, in partnership with Mobile World Live, evidences the explosion of eSIM technology in the recent past: almost half (48%) of manufacturers and two thirds (66%) of operators now offer eSIM services, with 75% of both these groups having added the capability within the past two years. This trend is set to accelerate: 80% of manufacturers and 90% of operators say they will offer eSIM by 2025.

The research also reveals that not only is eSIM predicted to be widespread; it is also expected to penetrate deep into the service models of many industry players. Two thirds of device manufacturers believe that over 40% of their total devices will be connected via eSIM in 2025. A further 19% responded that they see almost their entire product portfolio (80-100%) connected via eSIM by that time.

Supply vs demand

While a number of operators predict similar levels of adoption in their own business, it is clear that many plan to run a hybrid SIM/eSIM model for the near future: less than a third those surveyed believe that eSIM will account for more than 40% of their total connections by 2025. This presents a worrying disparity between those devices that will require an eSIM connection on the one hand and the eSIMs actually available from operators on the other—demonstrating an upcoming tension between soaring demand and inadequate supply.

The data shows that many key players in the industry believe that adoption is being slowed by a variety of barriers including difficult set up, extended time to market, cost and poor availability. The latter is the most prevalent, with 53% of device manufacturers pointing to a lack of adequate supply of eSIM technology as one of the main reasons eSIM adoption is not faster or more widespread.

Further, 66% believe operators are to blame for holding back eSIM adoption overall.

However, this may be misleading. The data also reveals a lack of availability further up the supply chain: operators too cite availability as a key barrier to implementing the technology, with 48% claiming it as a challenge; second only to cost.

This points to a problem not with operators but with their suppliers— likely their SIM manufacturers who now must juggle the production of traditional plastic SIMs with the provision of eSIMs.

New players have emerged to tackle this bottleneck, built for eSIM-first delivery. These younger, nimbler providers seek also to eliminate another important barrier to adoption: 47% of operators report that it simply takes too long to implement the eSIM model.

Ralph Steffens, CEO at Truphone said: “The inflection point for eSIM is fast approaching: device makers have an increasing number of reasons to remove the plastic SIM slot altogether and, as this report shows, within five years, eSIM will be the new normal in devices.

“Operators need to be ready to deploy millions of eSIM profiles every single day. But, the research reveals a shortfall in the capabilities of SIM manufacturers to effectively offer eSIM services. That’s why we developed Truphone’s remote SIM provisioning solution for mobile operators. Without the burden of a legacy plastic SIM business, we are uniquely placed to help operators and – in turn – manufacturers make the switch to eSIM swiftly and professionally.

“With the benefits of eSIM becoming ever-more understood and appetite is growing exponentially. It’s time for the whole industry to accelerate to meet that demand.”

About the survey

This report is based on responses from an online survey of 371 respondents conducted by Mobile World Live on behalf of Truphone. Mobile network operators with annual revenues of more than $10 billion accounted for 17.5% of respondents and 14.0% were from MNOs with annual sales of under $10 billion. A total of 6.2% were from consumer device manufacturers and 4.0% were from M2M device manufacturers. Geographically, the largest group of respondents (50.4%) were from companies headquartered in Europe, followed by North America (20.0%), Asia (15.6%), Africa (6.5%), South America (5.4%) and the Middle East and Africa (2.2%).

About Truphone

Truphone has been championing digital mobility and customer choice for almost two decades, allowing things, businesses and people to communicate freely. We believe that the better the world communicates, the better the world.

Since 2006, it has invested in state-of-the-art SIM software, intuitive management platforms and a powerful global network. To date, Truphone is the only mobile provider that has developed its own GSMA-compliant eSIM, remote SIM provisioning platform and global mobile network.

This secure, flexible, and independent service enables Truphone’s customers to harness the potential of emerging technologies. Now the fastest growing and the second largest eSIM provider in the world, Truphone has been instrumental in the boom in eSIM technology—provisioning 8 million eSIM profiles in its first two years of operation.

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