Microsoft today announced that Windows 10 would gain support for electronic-SIMs in future updates. eSIM is a fairly new technology – the first GSM phone utilizing the eSIM technology was demoed back in 2015 at the Mobile World Congress.
The idea of eSIM is quite simple – instead of having physical SIM cards that users need to switch between, eSIMs make these cards virtual.
The idea isn’t new – but the implementation of eSIM for GSM is; the phone demoed in 2015 at MWC was capable of ‘downloading’ and switching between multiple virtual SIM cards at the tap of a button.
Windows Store integration
Microsoft also teased something interesting with this announcement – the ability to buy data packs via the Windows Store.
The Windows Store will – at some point – be capable of managing these eSIM cards, allowing users to purchase data packs and manage their account without going through their carrier’s login process.
Of course, with all of this, Windows 10 will also need a way to manage data usage – something it already has, in some capacity for WiFi networks; these features will be improved as eSIMs gain support and traction among the industry players.
Microsoft’s isn’t fooling around with its goal to make Windows 10 a flexible OS – it will soon be able to run full desktop apps on a mobile processor, after all.
At the moment, only a few cellular operators like AT&T, Etisalat, Vodafone, etc. support eSIMs. There’s also not many phones or mobile devices that come with eSIM support – the technology simply isn’t seen as standard practice yet.
Microsoft’s push will help the tech take-off, but it will also let manufacturers build better devices with even smaller form factors, as they no longer need to accommodate for an exposed physical SIM card slot.
There is no timeline for when eSIMs will be supported within Windows 10 – but it’s probably before the end of 2017, with the push for the ‘ultimate mobile device.‘