Everything you need to know about e-SIM in Nepal

Digital Marketing
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As per the recent announcement from Apple, the iPhone 14 series will only be sold with an e-SIM. Although Nepal Telecom has already announced plans to launch eSIM in the nation, people are still wondering whether the most recent iPhones sold in the US will function in Nepal. Let's get into detail about the very ideal topic recently. Check the main aspects of eSIM and how it was implemented in Nepal.

What is an e-SIM?

An eSIM is a card that is embedded in the mobile and can connect you to any operator offering eSIM services. The e-SIM doesn’t require a physical card for the phone. Instead, the telecom provider will provide you with a mobile number and access to its services while remotely connecting your device to its network.


Additionally, as the data on an eSIM is rewritable, you can choose to switch operators with just a phone call in the e-SIM. The GSMA, which established global eSIM standards, supports this technology. Using an embedded SIM, which is commonly known as “e-SIM”, the biggest advantage is that you can use the telecom operator's cellular services without a physical SIM card. Most Smartphones have now adopted the physical SIM card these days. 


The embedded SIM is a virtual embedded system that cannot be removed. As the name suggests, the sim is built into the phone’s mainboard. The card is compatible with all the dominable carriers, regardless of what type of network they are using.eSIM was firstly hyped with the launch of the Apple Watch 3 in September 2017. The eSIM got on the market with the Google Pixel 2, which was the first phone to use the e-SIM technology. The Apple Watch 3 and Pixel are not the only devices using eSIMs. Now, Cars and other multiple IoT devices are using it too. If you have ever seen a connected car, haven’t you wondered where its SIM card goes? iPhone 11 phone also started the eSIM earlier, but, with the change of time, premium phones from Apple and Samsung have now started to support the eSIM functionalities.

Advantages of e-SIM

  1. There is no need to add or remove a physical SIM card because the eSIM is integrated within mobile devices. Hence, Switching networks is simpler with the eSIM because it can be done electronically.


  1. The biggest benefit of eSIM is that the user can have many phone numbers. One conventional SIM card and one eSIM, for instance, will allow iPhone customers who have eSIM to now have two phone numbers on a single device. This is a huge advantage for iPhone users.


  1. Additionally, the eSIM occupies a lot less room than a SIM tray. Therefore, producers might use the area for additional components. This explains why cellular can be supported by even tiny devices like IoT and wearables.


  1. Customers can connect to cellular networks digitally, therefore telecom providers do not need to produce physical SIM cards. This results in decreased both plastic waste and physical harm due to eSIM.

Disadvantages of e-SIM

  1. Although consumers can digitally change the service provider or an eSIM profile or phone number in an e-SIM, they do not influence the procedure.


  1. Changing the SIM is not easy with the embedded SIM. Users of the traditional SIM card could just change it out, but with the eSIM, they must get in touch with the service provider.


  1. Additionally, the SIM card can no longer be used to store contact information. In some cases, you might also need to temporarily utilize the SIM card from another phone. It won't be that easy using the eSIM, though.

Which Devices are Compatible with e-SIM in Nepal?

The majority of high-end smartphones, including those from Galaxy S, Note, and Z series of Samsung, Apple, P, Mate series of Huwaei, and Google, support eSIM. e-SIM is even present on some high-end smartwatches from brands. The most recent smartwatches from Samsung and Apple that is Galaxy Watch 5 Series and Watch Series 8 support the e-SIM respectively.

If you are a new customer, you must verify that your smartphone is compatible to use the eSIM capability, as said earlier.


Several Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S22 Ultra, S22+, S22, Z Fold 3, Z Flip 3, S21 series, S20 Ultra, S20+, and S20 are easily compatible with e-SIM.  Talking about Apple, eSIM is supported by all Apple iPhone models released after the iPhone XS, including the iPhone 11, 12, 13 series, and the recent iPhone 14 series. However, the Chinese mainland model of the iPhone may not be compatible with eSIM. Also not to forget, eSIM is only available on Hong Kong or Macau models of the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation), and iPhone XS.


eSIM is also supported by the Huawei P40 Pro. Other eSIM-equipped smartphones from Huawei, Sony, Oppo, Google, and Motorola exist but are not formally offered in Nepal. Apple iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular models, (except for the Chinese versions), also support eSIM. The iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad (7th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), iPad Pro 11-inch (all versions), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch are among these devices (3rd generation and later).

Will iPhone 14 series work in Nepal?

The release of the latest iPhone 14 series has brought huge attention to eSIM. Let's discuss a factor that might affect how eSIM has been a major hindrance for the recently released iPhones in Nepal.


As per the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA),  the MDMS service will launch in the nation on September 15. Any smartphone carried into Nepal from a foreign country, including the US, will be regarded as Grey, or illegally imported, devices, if the implementation is effective. And any national telecom operator's network will be essentially banned from receiving calls from such grey handsets. This might cause a huge impact on the import of Android cellphones as well as iPhones. However, we doubt that the system will go online on September 15 given the NTA's track record in the past.


As iPhone 14 series will only support the eSIM, cellular connectivity should be taken into account in addition to MDMS when acquiring the most recent iPhone from the US. So, you will need a telecom provider with an eSIM facility to enable cellular connectivity on those devices. The sole operator in Nepal attempting to implement the eSIM service is NTC and it has been testing the eSIM for some time. Additionally, the general public will soon be able to purchase the eSIM, according to recent reports.

IMEI Registration in Nepal

You might be aware that currently, importers of mobile devices must pay a 13% VAT and a 5% excise charge. Additionally, this year, the government cut the VAT return portion to 0%. As a result, the illegal market of phones is increasing day by day. Due to this, it is not unexpected that smartphones purchased on the black market are inexpensive because both fees are virtually waived. As per NMDA, around 25% of Nepal’s whole smartphone industry is the grey market. Mobile phones are in high demand right now than ever before.

Nepal Telecom about to launch e-SIM within a few weeks

Initially, the NTA planned to start eSIM operations from Shrawan, but this was postponed since NTC was unprepared for it. It is still unknown how the telecom will prepare, so there may be some delays this time as well. However, the service is aimed to launch before the end of 2022. Therefore, there is sad news that you might not be able to use the cellular service in the gadget straight away if someone from the United States plans to give you the most recent iPhone this Dashain. But in the future, using an eSIM-only iPhone in Nepal will certainly be possible.


The first carrier to provide eSIM connections in Nepal will be Nepal Telecom. The telecom operator has already set aside the first funding for the project in the fiscal year 2078/079 to launch its eSIM platform. NTC has also entered into a contract with Monty UK Global Limited in April 2022 to supply the telco with an eSIM platform. This marks the upcoming of the eSIM soon in Nepal but it is also clear that the NTC's eSIM platform will continue to rely on a third-party solution. 


In any case, eSIM will be accessible in Nepal as soon as possible within a few months if everything goes according to the plan NTA. NTC plans to give away around 1,50,000 e-sims in Nepal in the first year. However, given the low prevalence of eSIM-compatible smartphones in Nepal, we are unsure how well this implementation will work. 

Conclusion

Hence, eSIM is a very wanted technology in Nepal. The eSIM, which provides a wide range of benefits is being implemented soon in Nepal. When an NTC eSIM becomes available (Hoping they launch it soon), do you intend to use it or do you prefer to continue using your present physical SIM card? 


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