SIM vs eSIM | What is the Difference?


When you visualize your phone and its SIM card, you would think of them as a body that needs its soul. Some phones missing a SIM card keep you unidentified, unconnected to any carrier’s mobile internet services and unable to make calls or send SMS messages. Here stands the significance of a SIM card in your phone.  Still, haven’t we come far enough with technology that any struggle with SIM cards shouldn’t matter anymore? Is there a way to use a mobile phone without requiring one? Have you heard about the dual SIM that manifests in Apple’s new iPhone as one of its features? Or have you come across the fact that Apple iPhone XS’s second SIM is actually eSIM? What is the difference between SIM VS ESIM?

Keep reading to find out the difference between SIM VS ESIM.

What is SIM Card?

The term SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module used globally in smartphones to store data for subscribers of GSM (Global System for Mobile communication). SIM card is basically a small plastic card with a chip holding a unique identification number, phone number and other data that links to the consumer. Moreover, it is transferable, and you can place it into the phone to access the local mobile network and place or receive calls or send texts.

SIM cards are a vital part of GSM networks to store the user’s authentication data. Essentially, it allows your mobile to connect to a GSM network. Also, it helps GSM networks to monitor your phone usage (particularly your minutes, messages, data usage, etc.). This is basically to provide carriers with the details they need to deliver you an accurate phone bill.

Different Types of SIM Cards| SIM VS ESIM

Those portable chips come in a few different sizes. It originated in 1991 to give the subscriber a unique identity through an easily accessible number in the size of the ATM card at the time. After that, it became smaller (Mini-SIM) in 1996 until the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010 with a smaller SIM slot, the Micro-SIM. This was the norm until the Nano-SIM became the smallest size in 2012.

What Data do SIM Cards Contain?

SIM cards do hold your:

  • Cell phone number
  • Rate Plan
  • Service Feature and Preferences
  • Text Messages
  • PIN Lock
  • LAI (Location Area Identity)

Two Sides of SIM cards: Good or Bad?!

On one hand, you aren’t in trouble when your phone’s battery dies and needs to be recharged, for you are free to take out the SIM card and place it into another phone. This is because your SIM card contains a variety of information, such as who is paying for the access, and that you have permission to use those features such as placing a call or sending a text. Furthermore, you have two options for saving contact information to the phone or to the SIM card, and by saving them into your SIM card you will get to them easily even if you change carriers. You can get a SIM card reader that allows you to manage the data.

On the other hand, SIM cards are locked and won’t work on another GSM phone. In other words, you can only obtain one number per phone, but what if your smartphone has some problems, and you need to use the SIM in the old Nokia phone lying in the corner? The form factor of your smartphone won’t make things any smoother. In order to make it fit, you have to run around and find an adapter for SIM. In addition, they don’t allow to seamlessly switch carriers nor they can be an ideal choice when traveling because you still need to purchase a physical SIM to replace your local SIM from a local carrier in the country you visit. Most importantly, SIM cards aren’t immune as hackers can access your information you stored into your card, especially when you forget to set a PIN or password to your SIM.

As a result, more advanced cards for smartphones were necessary to evolve. Here comes the new innovation of Embedded SIM (eSIM).

What is eSIM?

With the launch of the Apple Watch 3 and new iPhone series, the term ” eSIM” has been thrown around a lot. Therefore, embedded SIM is a standardized SIM chip that is available for many mobile operators worldwide. Meaning, when switching carrier, you don’t have to swap one SIM card with another if you have an embedded SIM. Since you can program the embedded SIM remotely, by simply messaging the old and new provider, you can choose another network. Yet, why are they taking the trend? And what are the devices supporting eSIM? How they are shaping the future of telecommunication?  Take a closer look at detailed answers from here.

How eSIM is Different from a SIM Card? 

First and foremost, a better design followed by better experience for manufacturers and consumers are converting the eSIM into a winning card.

eSIM revokes all tedious and time-consuming process by granting you the chance to easily switch carriers. The most you can do is scan your QR code or install the carrier’s app manually to instantly activate your device’s eSIM, and that is of no cost or any further payment. By adopting so, you aren’t likely to lose your home SIM when you are busy switching cards. Not to mention the traveling roaming charges you are to encounter because with SIM cards you aren’t privileged enough to join multiple networks.

eSIMs are way better than SIM cards when it comes to:

  1. Switching to a carrier with a better deal and/or coverage.
  2. Changing phone numbers without the hassle of cutting a SIM card or finding adapters.
  3. Using a local operator when traveling or relocating to another country.
  4. Removing slots and openings from any device’s shell.
  5. Worrying about the damage of your SIM cards or having your data being hacked.

Most importantly, with embedded SIM you can have two plans from two different carriers. This means you can add a local data plan when you travel outside of the country or region. With that being said, if you need to enjoy your data plans right away, you should take a look at some of Numero’s data plan packages.

Note: while new Apple smartphones along with non-Apple smartphones were certain to evolve to adopt the eSIM technology, here we are producing the Best eSIM supported devices in 2021

But Wait! Does the ” e” in eSIM stand for ” Electronic” or ” Embedded”? Are they the same?

The term eSIM referring to the card built into the phone’s mainboard is a shortened version of embedded SIM. It differs from the other type of Electronic SIM as we aforementioned. That is to say, Electronic SIM is another way of producing the change in technology. It has to do with the replacement of the standard SIM.

Normally, phone numbers are programmed to connect incoming calls to physical phones connected to their network. Put it simply, something physical is the connection between normal phone numbers. However, electronic SIM provides its services digitally.

What is Electronic SIM?

Electronic SIM is software providing virtual phone numbers directing incoming calls with apps using an internet-based protocol, the VoIP. We also refer to them as online numbers. This is because the whole system is of an online calling app taking the VoIP into practice. So, they don’t need a physical phone line or SIM card.

How do virtual numbers work?

Virtual phone numbers are almost the same as real telephone numbers with the same number formats. The difference lies in the fact that while existing telecommunications infrastructure manages the delivery of traditional phone numbers, virtual numbers place and receive phone calls and SMS texts using the Internet. As long as they have a connection to the internet, you can access your number—from anywhere in the world! Install Numero eSIM app to know more about this technology.


How can you use virtual mobile numbers? 

Business use:

  • International sales: Businesses display themselves much easier for customers in foreign countries, for presenting a local number on the website boosts revenue.
  • International Presence: It is a great option! It assures consistent branding, board networking and professionalism to your audiences. That occurs when appearing as an international company with branches all over the world, while your company has one location in one region. Consequently, Virtual Business Phone Number improves your company’s image.
  • Ad tracking: By showing different phone numbers in ads, it is possible to track how efficient each ad is at driving sales.

Private use

  • When traveling: They help you perform cheap international calls back home or to any overseas country with the lowest pricing. Also, they offer the most convenient ways instead of buying a new SIM whenever and wherever you travel.
  • Relocation: When you move to another town or country, it can be simpler to get everything set up remotely if you have a local number for all contacts needed prior to your arrival.
  • Privacy: you can publish a virtual number instead of showing your real number. This allows you to shelter your privacy without exposing your real number to the world.

How Electronic SIM and Embedded SIM differ?

Both technologies are brand new in the world of telecommunications in which phones no longer are in need of removable SIM cards. Furthermore, both can grant the freedom to obtain various numbers from various carriers, and you can activate them to operate with any, and multiple, operator subscriptions around the world with a simple click/tap.

Nevertheless, as clarified earlier, embedded SIM is a real physical SIM inserted inside the device, whereas the electronic SIM is a virtual SIM performing the tasks of the normal SIM but across the internet.

For example, Apple iPhone XS is holding in its mainboard an integrated physical eSIM allowing you to activate a cellular plan from your carrier. Whereas, the electronic SIM with virtual numbers is primarily an application, such as Numero eSIM App. Numero eSIM is a fully-featured app allowing you to get several phone numbers from an expanding list of countries virtually.

Conclusion: SIM vs Electronic SIM vs Embedded SIM

It is all about the implication of adopting the sophisticated world of technology into our best practices. It starts with a SIM card as the standard way of connecting to carrier’s network, and when demands of making the process of switching carriers much easier increase, embedded SIM manifests as a great solution to simply connect to whatever carrier supporting the technology from your eSIM supported device. Electronic SIM is way another option utilizing the VoIP services to let you enjoy cheap international calls, multiple phone numbers, voicemail and more features granted via an application.

Still, the progress in the SIM realm is not standing still, for as you are reading this blog, manufacturers out there are producing newer types with better features. Have you heard about iSIM? Is it a sibling of eSIM with many shared traits? Or has it developed more features?  Share with us what you think.

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