Celona is now supporting embedded subscriber identity modules (eSIMs) as part of its private wireless networks offering.
There are many kinds of devices that might be part of a private wireless network such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, gateways and routers. Celona is keeping a list of devices that work on CBRS spectrum for private wireless networks in the U.S.
Özer Dondurmacıoğlu, VP of marketing with Celona, said most of the devices used in private networks have been using physical SIM cards up to this point, with only about 10% of devices currently supporting eSIM.
But eSIM promises great things for private wireless.
Network operators will be able to make changes over-the-air without having to physically touch devices. Those changes might include applying different policies or profiles, allowing connections to multiple enterprise networks or adding or deleting subscriptions to different public wireless networks.
“Say you’re running five different events and you have five different private networks, said Dondurmacıoğlu. “You don’t want to touch that device five different times.”
With eSIM, the IT staff doesn’t have to manually configure and insert physical SIM cards. Instead, they can scan QR activation codes that trigger the secure download and installation of the requisite SIM profile for a given client device. And the eSIM is programmable to make changes.
Going forward, Celona is working with some mobile device management solutions to automatically push activation codes directly to devices.
There are some companies that do eSIM management, providing the software to provision eSIM-enabled devices, connecting them to wireless networks and managing the profiles. One of those companies is Germany-based Giesecke+Devrient (G+D).
“We use their services as a backend,” said Dondurmacıoğlu. “They would be a supplier to us, like suppliers of radios or servers to us. It’s another raw component that we take.”
eSIM in public mobile networks
The big wireless carriers in the U.S. are starting to use eSIM, as well, for smartphones and tablets. But they’re not marketing it. Perhaps they’re afraid it could cause subscribers to switch carriers more frequently.
As part of its permission to purchase Sprint, T-Mobile agreed to support eSIM, which it now does. But the instructions for using it look a bit daunting, and T-Mobile definitely does not mention that eSIM will make it easier for customers to switch to another provider.
T-Mobile touts eSIM as a convenience for anyone who wants to use both their work and personal numbers on a single smartphone or for those customers who want to set up their phone with an international carrier for extended stays outside the U.S. Its website adds, “Plus, AT&T and Verizon customers can activate a separate T-Mobile plan on their existing smartphone.”