The timing for the country’s leading telecommuting services provider, Econet, to officially introduce the next generation of SIM technology in the country at the recently concluded 2022 annual Zimbabwe agricultural show could not have been better, as the new iPhone 14 will not have a sim card tray and only support eSIMS.
During yesterday’s Apple event, it was revealed that the new iPhone 14 smartphones will not have a physical SIM card tray; instead, all models will be eSIM only. However, this upgrade is currently only available for US models, but we expect the eSIM to take over and the physical sim to become obsolete within the next five years. This development comes at a time when Econet has only recently begun offering eSIMs in the country, demonstrating why it has consistently held the top spot.
Our smartphones used to have a removable back cover and battery, but the introduction of inbuilt batteries ended that, and soon you won’t need a sim ejector to switch networks.
A SIM, as we all know, is a small physical plastic card that slots into your mobile phone and stands for Subscriber Identity Module. A SIM card is an essential component of a mobile device because it enables internet access without the use of WIFI. Subscriber Identity Module cards also store information such as your mobile phone number and allow you to make and receive calls, and texts, and use data on your phone. SIM cards can also store contacts and phone numbers, making switching phones simply because you can simply remove your SIM from your old phone and insert it into a new one.
The term “eSIM” refers to an embedded SIM card. There are no physical SIM cards to insert, and no physical swapping over is required with this new sim. An eSIM, rather than a removable plastic card inside your phone, is a small chip embedded in your handset that you cannot remove and replace with another phone. An eSIM must be supported and enabled by the network or carrier (Econet) via a QR CODE that you must scan in order to load it onto your phone. Although not all networks support eSIM, Econet is the only broadband service provider in Zimbabwe and one of only a few in Africa.
Because the information on an eSIM is rewritable, you can switch networks without the hustle of removing your SIM and inserting a new one. Switching networks is now much easier with an e-sim. Instead of going out and purchasing a new SIM card and inserting it into your phone, you can switch to a different network online. You will also not need to look for a SIM ‘ejector tool’ to remove the old SIM from your phone. We can’t talk about removing the battery because those are long gone, as well physical sim cards in the future.
ESIMs provide improved security for your device as phone snatchers will be having a hard time taking out the sim as it cannot be removed making the devices even more traceable. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of phones available today do not support eSIM, so why am I telling you this? It is only a matter of time before many smartphones adopt electronic SIM cards, obviating the need for a physical SIM card and its slot, as seen with the Motorola Razr flip phone, which only supports eSIMs.
You can switch to another network temporarily. One eSIM can hold up to five virtual SIM cards at once. This means you can quickly switch between networks if you find yourself in an area where your usual network has no signal.
How to add an eSim to your phone?
Simply scan the QR code hidden behind a scratch card-looking material when you get your eSim. You can also enter the eSim serial number manually of the QR code is a bit of a problem.
You will need data to connect to the Econet network to check if the QR code/sim serial number is valid and is not activated on another device. If the check is successful your new eSim will be added to the list of eSims in your phone settings.
Econet will then, assign the number to the eSim and activate it on the network. You can then start using the eSim.
Where can I get an eSim in Zimbabwe?
You can get an eSim from any Econet shop in Harare CBD. Other Econet shops across Zimbabwe will start rolling out these eSims soon.