eSIM: Now Maybe?

Back in February 2021, LotusFlare asked the question, could eSIM revive roaming revenues? The thought was that global travel would rebound out of the COVID pandemic and that the prospect of eSIM would entice operators to take advantage to make onboarding of roamers in their market much easier and try and capture more roaming revenue.

As we stand in November 2022, global travel has rebounded. But the great move to eSIM by communications services providers? Well, not so much.

Why eSIM adoption has been slow is well-documented - here’s a good summary - so no need to review that. The story is not all gloom - two things stand out.

First, LotusFlare has seen that eSIM is well-placed to change the roaming experience and there’s massive appeal of the eSIM experience. And we know this because LotusFlare offers Nomad, a service that provides travelers near-local data rates through the magic of eSIM (note, we know eSIM isn’t magic but, as we see from some of our customers reviews, it’s pretty close). You can get the app for iOS and Android.  

The Nomad experience for customers has been very positive and we know this because, at this point in its young life, most of Nomad’s business is repeat. The feedback we get from consumers is that they appreciate not being burned by data roaming charges and - more importantly - eSIM makes the experience convenient and simple and easy to repeat. eSIM is proven to simplify the experience of roaming.

Second, device makers are going all eSIM and CSPs will have a choice but to implement eSIM going forward. In July 2020, the GSMA offered that their “baseline scenario predicts around 850 million eSIM smartphone connections globally by 2025, growing to 6.7 billion by 2030.” 

With the US iPhone 14 and 14 Pro (launched in September 2022) going all eSIM, that was probably the push that CSPs needed to rouse from their eSIM slumber. And again direct experience: we offer LotusFlare eSIM, a cloud-native SaaS component of our LotusFlare DNO Cloud that manages eSIM orchestration. Within days of the iPhone 14 announcement, LotusFlare was contacted to rekindle conversations about LotusFlare eSIM with a half-dozen CSPs.

So, eSIM, now maybe? From LotusFlare’s vantage point, evidence suggests that the time is finally right. CSPs are now being pushed begrudgingly to eSIM but in the end, consumers will benefit and CSPs will take another step along their road of digital transformation when it comes to customer onboarding. Adopting eSIM will make their customers happier and eSIM-enabled CSPs will be perceived as more digital and focused on providing simplified experience.

Stephen Krajewski
Senior Director of Marketing

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