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eSIM in Peru: Why operators promote this new service for the iPhone

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Every year, the world of mobile telephony causes a stir. The most recent had been the initial deployment of 5G in Peru, a new network that operators have pushed over limited spectrum and that still demand a tender from the State. This year, the stir has been caused by the official arrival of the eSIM, a format that is not new and that seems to be closer to the user. In our case, we have two services associated with phones compatible with eSIM and we have tested both plans.

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Before starting this story, I must clarify that Claro’s service was managed with my personal line paid monthly, because we are reviewing the iPhone 14 Pro Max. In the case of Waoo, we received a courtesy eSIM test from SUMA Móvil as part of this review.

eSIM: what is it and why you can’t have it yet

When we talk about an eSIM – electronic SIM -, we are referring to a new standard to allow the connectivity of a smartphone to the network that does not depend on a physical card. In 2022, component shortages are forecast to impact the global distribution of SIM cards, so eSIM may be a good way to deal with that.

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We are not talking about a novelty, by the way. This format began to gain traction in 2015, when the position of the GSMA, various operators, Samsung and Apple to develop a virtual standard that would eventually replace the physical SIM and facilitate portability was announced.

There is only one momentary detail that you must assimilate. For now, the eSIM is only available on specific phones, and almost all of them are located in the high-end or premium range. If you are looking for a device with an eSIM, you are going to have to look at a high price range.

List of phones compatible with eSIM

iPhone XR Galaxy S20 Google Pixel 2XL
iPhone XS Samsung Galaxy S20+ Google Pixel 3XL
iPhone XS Max Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Google Pixel 3a XL
iPhone 11 Galaxy S21 Pixel 4
iPhone 11Pro Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G Google Pixel 4a
iPhone SE2 (2020) Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Google Pixel 4XL
iPhone 12 Galaxy S22 Pixel 5
iPhone 12 Mini Samsung Galaxy S22+ Google Pixel 5a
iPhone 12 Pro Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Pixel 6
iPhone 12 ProMax Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Google Pixel 6a
iPhone 13 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G Google Pixel 6 Pro.
iPhone 13 Mini Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
iPhone 13 Pro Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
iPhone 13 ProMax Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4
iPhone SE 3 (2022) Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
iPhone 14
iPhone 14Plus
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 14 ProMax
Sony Xperia 10 III Lite Huawei P40 Oppo Find X3 Pro
Sony Xperia 1 IV Huawei P40 Pro Oppo Reno 5A
Huawei Mate 40 Pro Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Find X5
Honor Magic 4 Pro moto razr 5G Oppo A55s
The iPhone has a direct system to transfer eSIM between computers
The iPhone has a direct system to transfer eSIM between computers | Font: PTR
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As you can see, the list focuses on a large part of the high-end, and few mid-range phones appear in this summary. There are absences such as Xiaomi, Motorola, Realme, vivo and other brands that sell smartphones in Peru. In addition, local operators are focusing their efforts on implementing eSIM for postpaid users who use iPhone, so the possibilities are shortened.

What benefits does the eSIM bring?

Random reading of Claro in 5G with eSIM in the iPhone 14 Pro Max
Random reading of Claro in 5G with eSIM in the iPhone 14 Pro Max | Font: PTR

Various, and not just locally. To begin with, and if the proper regulations are in place to promote the format, portability could take less time in equipment compatible with this technology. The change process should not be so long, and could be done through digital platforms.

Another advantage is that we would not lose the SIM card if we constantly change it, and we would only have to scan a QR code to migrate the device and have the service on the new equipment.

Having this system allows us to host several numbers in a single phone and activate them as we see fit by location or need. Note that, in this case, only Dual SIM devices are capable of operating with two lines at the same time, while devices that only have eSIM can activate one line at a time. In that case, you should look for a SIM/eSIM device so as not to lose connectivity of a line.

To use the phone in other countries, we can buy an eSIM online and install it from home before traveling. Thus, when you arrive at your destination, you can activate your international eSIM and enjoy data as soon as you reach your destination and without paying for roaming or having plans that you don’t need.

In terms of security, it is not possible to steal an eSIM without accessing the device, while a SIM card can be quickly removed from a cell phone. In an oversight. To “hijack” an eSIM requires validation of personal information and layers of biometrics can be added on the same device as additional secure elements. In addition, the data is housed in the phone, so its activation in a new one requires reviewing data in the previous one.

How can I manage my eSIM if I want one?

In the case of Entel and Claro, the operators that have made their eSIM offers public, the process is personal and only for postpaid customers with valid plans. The holders of the service must present themselves at specific offices determined by the operator, in addition to bringing their DNI and the physical SIM that they are going to replace with eSIM.

This process takes between 10 to 15 minutes to guarantee the correct migration of the service. During this time, service advisors may request equipment to set up some instances, so be vigilant and ask about each step. At the moment, only iPhone activation is available. Check with your operator in advance if you require any specific equipment of that brand.

My metric obtained with Waoo on Android
My metric obtained with Waoo on Android | Font: PTR

eSIM: coverage

In this case, we should not worry. This system replicates the current coverage that we have in the operator, and only transfers our service to a virtualized chip. Nothing different. In my case, Claro’s 5G works the same, with the same speed and switching to 4G in the same areas where there is no coverage. In my case, I got up to 200 mbps with this chip installed in the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

In the case of Waoo, the service is hosted on the Entel network and has 4G connectivity, a stable and average network for urban users. In that case, the speed has been kept in parameters between 30 and 40 mbps. In both cases, phone calls did not present problems or cuts, nor have I registered drops in connectivity.

eSIM: the problems

So far, the sign-up process replicates the traditional SIM experience. You have to go to a point of sale with documents and pass biometric tests to certify that we are the holders. At that point of sale, we need to convert a physical SIM to a virtual one.

In my case, having a piece of equipment that I have to return after the review, I need to go back to the CAC of Of course to process a new physical SIM, because my only device with eSIM available is Android. That implies that, to get my service back, I must buy a new physical SIM in store.

In the case of wow, the platform is still polishing its access to allow users to register. Consider that, after the biometrics, you must go to “Sign in” and register with your email and your ID previously added to the system. Once this happens, you will receive a message with the password to continue with the registration process. It works better, but it still requires telephone contact from a central office to verify your data and choose the plan. In that call you can choose between SIM and eSIM.

eSIM Is it worth it?

Personally, I believe that we are before a first step with several frictions, but it is already a step. Unclear platforms and the need to carry out a face-to-face procedure for a service that can be activated on the phone are conditions that, obviously, must be overcome for a format that is promoted as flexible.

On the other hand, the offer of phones that include this option is scarce and limited to the highest ranges. We are still a bit far from cheaper equipment with eSIM in a market where dual trays and prepaid chips abound.

However, it is important to establish that it is a wonderful opportunity to optimize regulations and protocols for the benefit of users’ time. More dynamic legislation, more robust processes, an attractive price offer and less friction for the consumer are part of a push that the eSIM deserves to reduce the problems that the traditional SIM already has. It’s time to start changing things.

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A full time tech enthusiast with a passion for writing. Religiously follow everything new happening in the tech world and share my two cents with my audience here.

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