Many MTN customers in South Africa have complained of issues when trying to activate the eSIM in their wearable devices.
An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is an electronic chip built into a device that provides cellular network connectivity without the need to buy a separate SIM card.
This functionality is supported by numerous devices, including the latest Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch models in South Africa.
A number of modern smartphones, including the Apple iPhone 12 range, also include eSIM chips to effectively enable dual-SIM connectivity.
Vodacom and MTN both support eSIM technology across various devices, but MTN customers have reported problems when trying to connect their eSIM-enabled wearables to the network.
eSIM activation issues
The process for activating an Apple Watch eSIM on the MTN network is as follows:
- Pair your Apple Watch with your iPhone device.
- When presented with the option to set up mobile data, select “Not now” and complete the syncing process.
- Once the pairing is complete, navigate to the Set Up Mobile Data option in the watch app. You will be redirected tot he MTN activation portal.
- Log in and complete the captcha, then accept the R25pm subscription charge that will come into effect after a six-month period.
- After a few moments, the portal should state that your eSIM has been activated.
This process is outlined in further detail in the infographic embedded at the end of this article.
Many users, however, have reported that the MTN eSIM activation portal returns an error message stating that “MTN does not currently support Apple Watch”.
Others have also reported an error message that states eSIM functionality is only available for contract customers when attempting this process, despite being contract customers.
Support staff at MTN outlets and call centres were equally unhelpful in many cases, with a number of customers being told that MTN does not offer eSIM functionality.
System migration issue at fault – MTN
MTN told MyBroadband that it is aware of issues with its online portal related to the activation of eSIM functionality.
It also said that its support staff are aware that MTN supports eSIM technology, but added that a system migration problem caused communication problems.
“Our customer support is aware that MTN supports eSIM functionality,” said MTN executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan.
“However, the root cause of the eSIM functionality problem lies in a system migration issue which unfortunately caused a breakdown in communication. This has now been rectified.”
She said that the current issue is affecting customers who have not yet been migrated to the operator’s new system.
“MTN has, over the past two years, been migrating its customers from legacy system to a new customer-centric and innovative system,” O’Sullivan said.
“We have advised customers who are experiencing issues to contact us so that we assist them case-by-case.”
“We apologise to our customers for the convenience this has caused,” she added.
How to solve eSIM activation problems
O’Sullivan said that as a result of these complaints, MTN has created a task team to assist those experiencing issues.
“We have assembled a task team to urgently assist customers,” she said.
Users who are experiencing problems with eSIM activations should reach out to MTN as soon as possible via email.
The email should have the subject line “eSIM complaints” and should be sent to to the following addresses: