After landing in Las Vegas yesterday to attend CES 2019 before going out of the airport I was advised to pick up my conference badge. And this is when I experienced eSIM goodness 🙂
In order to do so I had to wait in line for about 15 minutes, which should have been far less than what I would've waited to do the same close to the convention center, so I decided to get my badge at the airport.
While standing I realized I forgot my T-mobile US sim card (which probably expired anyway) and since I just came from Europe I didn't have time to buy a new one as well. I opened up Google Maps to figure out where's the closest T-mobile store, as they have the best cellular offerings for tourists.
After few seconds of searching I recalled that on the previous WWDC Apple announced (actually mentioned in only in the list of new 'other' features without any comments) an electronic sim card support for their latest devices. Since WWDC I've heard US carriers adopting eSIM one after another. And that one of the latest iOS updates actually enabled those.
So I started googling eSIM for T-mobile US and I found their separate app just for getting one! I downloaded the app via the airport's wifi, entered my credentials, credit card info and the app offered me to install a T-mobile data plan! After me accepting it and going through few setup steps my phone connected to T-mobile, but also kept connection to AT&T as a roaming carrier for my EU sim card. Now I had connection to two carriers with only one sim card in the single physical sim slot installed! How cool is that?!
And all of the above I could achieve while standing in a line for a conference badge. I not only made my time useful but saved some more by not having to re-route and go to a physical T-mobile store, wait in line there and speak to not always pleasant consultant, take off my phone's case, swap cards, etc. I would be also loosing connection to my original phone which I still need abroad to see incoming calls, get verification SMS, etc, to which I usually take a second phone with me. The second phone is also a hassle - I have to charge it separately, keep an eye on it separately as well.
But now I could avoid all of this: wasting my time by going to a physical store, managing a second phone - which in this particular case I also forgot, the same as my previous US sim card. I would probably have to buy a cheap third phone just for receiving sms on my main EU number without having to swap between US and EU sim cards each time.
I heard plenty of times rumors on Apple's plans ditching all the ports and openings with time. And if the headphone jack was (and is) an arguable port to loose, I will definitely not miss the sim card slot. And in this regard the eSIM is a wonderful replacement: not only it doesn't take away something you need - you can still use your sim slot with carriers which don't support eSIM yet. But it brings the game up in a very noticeable manner not no be worrying and dealing with sim cards with carriers that do support it. And in time most of them will, and that's when all the phones will start shipping without this truly ancient and unnecessary technology, bringing us even more seamless phones, tablets, and who knows, a cellular-enabled Mac but without a sim slot :)