Vodacom customers with iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone Xr devices can now look forward to using their smartphone’s eSIM functionality on the mobile network.
The mobile network told MyBroadband that it aimed to launch eSIM support for these three smartphones early next year, pointing out that some devices were already supported.
“We are targeting the first half of 2020 with eSIM support for the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone Xr,” a Vodacom spokesperson said. “We already support eSIM wearables.”
An eSIM is an embedded SIM which is built into a smartphone and needs to be enabled by a mobile network to function.
Embedded SIMs are also found in smart wearables from major device manufacturers like Samsung and Apple, allowing them to connect to mobile networks and function with a cellular connection.
OneNumber and wearables
The eSIM functionality on Vodacom’s network is supported through its OneNumber offering, which was launched earlier this year.
OneNumber allows Vodacom customers to use a single number across all multiple devices by linking eSIMs to a primary number.
The OneNumber platform also supports the ability to store multiple profiles without the use of a traditional SIM card in a SIM slot.
Vodacom’s initial implementation of eSIM technology on its network was to support the LTE-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
Customers who own a compatible Galaxy Watch can simply enable the OneNumber service at a Vodacom store, paying a once-off R98 connection fee.
Users will then be charged a R25 monthly fee for data sharing on the LTE connection across their smartphone and wearable.
Vodacom has not yet launched eSIM support for any other devices, and the above-mentioned service is only available to contract customers.
Rain stealing Vodacom’s thunder
While Vodacom is currently the only operator in South Africa to offer eSIM support on its network, it may be upstaged by Rain in the near future.
The data-only mobile network is currently working on an “eRICA” process to launch alongside its eSIM product in South Africa, making it easier to buy and register an eSIM without the hassle of the standard RICA process.
RICA – the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act – requires local users to provide certain documents when buying a SIM card.
Rain confirmed to MyBroadband that the launch of its “eRICA” process would be paired with the launch of eSIM functionality on its network.
The network said the target launch date for this is July or August 2019, which would place it ahead of Vodacom in terms of eSIM functionality – especially if it opts to support the iPhone Xs and Xr device range at launch.
Rain’s R50-per-GB data pricing and uncapped offerings make it an attractive option for a secondary connection via eSIM on these compatible iPhones.