Embedded SIM (eSIM) support is available on the Vodacom and MTN mobile networks in South Africa, although it is currently only available for wearables.
Supported wearables include the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch Series 5, the latter of which is only supported on Vodacom’s mobile network.
Other major mobile networks which have not yet implemented public eSIM support in South Africa include Telkom, Cell C, and Rain.
Rain previously stated it was testing eSIM support for various devices and is looking to launch this technology in future.
The company partnered with Truphone over a year ago to enable eSIM support on its network.
Truphone’s eSIM provisioning platform connects customers using the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhone Xr, Google Pixel 3, or any other eSIM-enabled device.
The company said at the time its commercial model allows mobile operators to rapidly deploy eSIM support without any significant set-up cost and no upfront usage fees.
Rain originally said it would launch eSIM support in May 2019, but it is still in beta.
We asked Telkom, Cell C, and Rain about their eSIM technology and when customers can expect eSIM support to be widely available.
Telkom told MyBroadband it expects to launch eSIM support by the end of 2020.
“Telkom plans to support eSIM devices towards the end of 2020,” the company said. “Currently there are very limited eSIM devices in South Africa.”
When its eSIM solution is launched, Telkom said that both smartphones and wearables would be supported on the platform.”
“Once our network is ready, Telkom will be able to offer eSIM provisioning and support for any eSIM-enabled smartphones and wearables, including but not limited to Apple, Samsung, and Huawei devices,” Telkom said.
Cell C told MyBroadband that it is working on eSIM support, adding that more information on supported devices would be revealed at a later date.
“Cell C is currently implementing eSIM support on the Cell C network,” Cell C said.
“Further details on devices that Cell C supports will be forthcoming.”
Rain CEO Willem Roos told MyBroadband that Rain has been running an eSIM platform on its network in beta for over a year.
“The platform supports all devices that adhere to the international eSIM standards,” Roos said.
“Unfortunately there have been some technical challenges in particular for the Apple iPhone, which is likely to be the most widely-used eSIM device.”
Roos added that Rain hopes to launch support in the coming months, saying this technology would be a great tool for acquiring new customers.
“We hope to see these [issues] resolved by iOS updates in the coming months, after which we will launch eSIM to the market,” Roos said.
“Given that a significant proportion of our sales already uses our RICA online functionality, we think this will be a really easy way for customers to join Rain.”