You may already know what an eSIM is, even if your phone doesn’t support the technology. It’s basically a dynamic SIM card that’s built right into your phone, programmable to work with multiple carriers or MVNOs. Instead of tediously exchanging small plastic cards when you switch carriers, eSIMs make buying a new plan almost as easy as installing an app. Not many phones support the relatively new technology, but one company has brought eSIM functionality to apparently none Android phone.
How does it work
Seen by Mishaal Rahman from esper.io, eSIM.me has created a SIM card based on eSIM. I know, that sounds counterintuitive. A hardware SIM card would seem to defeat the purpose of a mutable eSIM, but it’s a novel approach that apparently works. However, it doesn’t have the same level of system integration that a more “traditional” embedded eSIM has.
Like all SIM cards, eSIM.me has what is functionally a small computer of its own inside, but the implementation here differs from the typical card. It has all the necessary hardware and software to run your own eSIM, meets the same specifications, and provides the same functionality through software, capable of storing multiple different network profiles. And surprisingly, the Android operating system can communicate with it. something like as if it were a “regular” eSIM through a set of APIs that the platform has supported for years. While you can’t directly interact with Google’s SIM Manager app like a regular eSIM does (that means the normal eSIM management options you’d expect won’t appear in the Settings menu), you can set up the required profiles using eSIM.me. app, and the system sees each as a separate hardware SIM.
Although full eSIM switching functionality does not work on devices running other operating systems, such as iPhones, any device can use the eSIM profile currently active on the card; it is basically Android only, but in a pinch, you can use it on another device, as long as you don’t need to switch profiles. You can also use it in a dual SIM setup, though you may have other limitations depending on your device, support for dual SIM features like dual active or dual standby, etc.
eSIM.me claims that it should work with “any Android device”, but the required APIs require at least Android 9 Pie on the majority cases work, though Rahman notes that some manufacturers implemented the required standards as early as Android 7 Nougat. Rahman’s full review of how it works it has more technically interesting tidbits, like a secure authentication mechanism that allows the eSIM.me app to communicate with the card while preventing other apps from doing the same (since that could be a security risk), and precisely why you can’t get the same level of integrated system management as an integrated eSIM.
Manage your SIM profiles in the app.
If you’ve never tried it, eSIMs are terribly convenient to use and a great way to get data when you travel. Instead of having to go to a store, buy a SIM card and select a plan or options for it, you can choose a carrier and plan from your phone and set everything up in the software in just a few minutes. Finding the right eSIM plan from another market can even offers great savings over a local plan. Rahman says that some Canadians are importing these cards to use a Hong Kong based plan. The hardest part is scanning a QR code. There are only two impediments, really.
First of all, the operators you want to use must be compatible with eSIM and, at the same time, not impose any Silly limitations or requirements related to eSIM. Second, your phone must have a built-in eSIM, or at least that. used be a requirement. While we can’t personally guarantee how well it might work, Rahman provides some rumor reports that eSIM.me’s eSIM hardware performed decently in development tests.
Good idea, dumb prices
Not everyone needs an eSIM, but if you know you’ll find yourself in a circumstance where one could be useful and your phone doesn’t have that functionality built in, eSIM cards.me I might worth a look. The companion app itself can tell you if your phone is compatible, though most newer devices should be. However, the company made some dumb decisions to kill their customers.
Prices vary depending on too many silly caps. Are you a “one phone” customer or a “one brand” person? Do you need 2, 5, 7, 10 or 15 profiles and you know it in advance?
Depending on how many devices you plan to use eSIM.me with, the cost varies. Apparently the cheapest version starts at $25 for a card that supports two profiles, locked to a single device. Transferring that license to a new phone costs $10, and this applies to all cards sold with device limits. For the big boy version that does all the stuff with no dumb devices or brand limitations and support for 15 profiles, you’ll spend $70, ouch.
If you are the root-and-ROM type, you I might be able to bypass some of these weird and arbitrary feature restrictions. Speaking to Rahman, there is an open source eSIM manager app you could use without touching the eSIM.me app, although using it to control the eSIM would require elevated permissions: root, in other words. But if eSIM.me simply enforces its device and registration limits through the app software, this might prevent this, though we don’t know if any of these limitations apply more directly in hardware as well.
While eSIM.me can bring eSIM functionality to your non-eSIM phone, you’ll have to wade through a bunch of limitations and arbitrary choices to find a card that fits your precise requirements or pay $70 for the full version that I don’t have. . It’s an interesting new concept, but the features and functionality seem to be spoiled in part by the many limited options. After all, eSIMs were supposed to get things done easierand loading all these extra warnings does the opposite.
The eSIM.me is available in the company window.
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