Telkom introduces embedded eSIM support for customers

04 October 2021

Telkom Mobile has become the latest operator in South Africa to introduce embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) support for its customers.

A digital SIM that allows users to activate their tariff plan from a carrier without having to use a physical SIM, the eSIM uses a small chip to authenticate a user’s identity with their carrier, as part of a global specification developed by telecoms trade body, the GSMA.

Embedded into the hardware of a smartphone device, the eSIM allows consumers to store multiple operator profiles on one mobile device simultaneously and switch between them remotely. However, only one profile can be used at a time.

“Historically, most of our customers have used traditional card SIMs,” said Andrew Dawson, executive: product portfolio management at Telkom. “These enable mobile network operators (MNOs) to identify a user and then to authenticate that the user is serviced by that MNO.

Going forward, Telkom will support eSIM-enabled handsets. We will enable eSIM provisioning, a specification which allows consumers to activate the SIM embedded in their phone.”

Embedded SIM cards have already been included in several iOS and Android devices around the world.

Locally, MTN launched its eSIM support capability in 2019 with the Samsung Galaxy Watch – and Vodacom introduced its eSIM capability for the same device at the beginning of 2020.

MTN later expanded the eSIM capability to some of its smartphone devices.

For the launch phase, Telkom says it will only support eSIM-enabled smartphones, which include devices from Apple (XS / XR / 11 / 12 and Apple iPad seventh generation and higher), Huawei (40 / 40 Pro / 40 Pro+ and P40 / P40 Pro / P40 Pro+) and Samsung (Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Z Fold2).