Telkom has revealed it will launch eSIM support for smartphones on its network next month.
“We will officially launch eSIM support for handsets during the month of August 2021,” the operator told MyBroadband.
An eSIM is a digital version of a SIM card embedded within an electronic device, allowing for connecting to a cellular network without inserting a physical SIM card.
The technology has grown increasingly popular with the boom in wearable adoption and IoT devices. It also enables dual SIM functionality on certain handsets that only offer one physical SIM slot.
Telkom said it would enable eSIM support on its network in a phased manner, starting with all eSIM-enabled smartphones from Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
Support for wearables like cellular smartwatches will be added at a later stage, Telkom stated,
The operator previously told MyBroadband it planned to launch support by the end of 2020.
It explained this was delayed due to international roaming issues it picked up during testing.
“These issues have now been resolved, and we are ready to deploy,” Telkom stated.
It added that it had engaged with vendors to establish a sustainable platform for the long-term objectives relating to eSIM support and future enablers based on the eSIM ecosystem.
Telkom did not state whether eSIM will be offered on contracts or prepaid packages, nor what it will cost.
Telkom’s addition of eSIM support comes seven months after Cell C joined MTN and Vodacom in deploying the service on its network.
However, unlike the two bigger operators, Cell C offers eSIMs on prepaid packages and not just contracts.
Customers can buy a card with a QR code they can scan to activate the service.
Cell C also allows existing prepaid numbers on physical SIMs to be migrated to eSIM.
The starter pack is priced at R50 and is available from select Cell C stores, listed in this MyBroadband Forum thread.
The operator supports eSIM on Apple and Samsung smartphones, with wearables to be added in future.
Cell C’s eSIM was rolled out almost two years after Vodacom, the first network in South Africa to launch eSIM capability in March 2019.
Dubbed OneNumber, it allows the customer to use a single number across two devices – one with a physical SIM and another with eSIM capability.
This support is still limited to contracts for wearables like the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
MTN followed a few months later and now offers the service on contract for eSIM-enabled Apple and Samsung smartphones and smartwatches.
On Vodacom, the eSIM subscription is free for the first three months, after which it charges R25 per month.
MTN’s free period is for six months before it also starts charging a R25 monthly subscription fee.
Rain founder Michael Jordaan previously showed off a Rain eSIM working in his iPhone in May 2019.
In its latest reply to MyBroadband, the operator said it is planning to launch eSIM support in future.