Android 13 finds way round eSIM limitation

The physical SIM card that we have gotten used to over the years will sooner rather than later be replaced by the eSIM. The advantages that an eSIM has over physical SIM cards are numerous, from the flexibility of switching networks on the fly to space-saving in devices, are just too good to pass over.

However, before telecom carriers and phone manufacturers make this much-awaited switch, there are still some drawbacks that have to be straightened over in the eSIM for it to become truly mainstream.

The first and most important hurdle to overcome is that eSIMs at the moment do not support dual SIM functionality.

Now, in the Kenyan scene where pretty much everyone has at least two SIM cards from the main carriers, one for making calls and the other one for sending money as most Kenyans say, this is an important thing to consider when getting a new phone.

eSIMs can store multiple configurations from different carriers, making switching from one to the other a breeze. However, only one configuration can be active at a single time, which makes eSIMs having dual SIM capability impossible at the moment.

To get around this, most manufacturers that offer eSIM capability on their phones also couple it with a physical SIM card(nano-SIM cards in most cases) in case the user needs dual SIM capability for their own use cases.

Google’s solution

Starting with Android 13 however, Google will introduce a software solution that enables multiple SIM profiles on a single eSIM chip.

Dubbed Multiple Enabled Profiles (MEPs), the implementation was patented by the tech giant back in 2020, and we might finally get to experience it with the release of Android 13 later in the year.

Google’s software implementation is generic in nature and also platform-agnostic. This basically means that Android 13 may not be the only operating system supporting it.

There is nothing stopping other popular operating systems like iOS, macOS, or Windows from implementing it on their own respective platforms. Google might choose to share the technology for free, or through a patent licensing scheme.

In order for carriers and OEMs to implement it, Google has developed a series of APIs that will be used to create a “local profile assistant” (LPA) app that will manage the eSIM profiles. Only system apps with carrier privileges will the permission to use the APIs.

READ:  Understanding eSIM technology: What is it and why does it matter?

Should Google’s implementation become mainstream, phone manufacturers will soon after get the confidence to ship phones without support for physical SIM cards. The space saved by not installing a physical SIM card will then be used to either pack in more powerful hardware, a bigger battery, or more sensors to increase the functionalities of your smartphones.

There is also the possibility of instead of going for more power and functionalities, we get phones that are lighter and thinner due to the hardware that is not needed anymore being dropped. At the end of the day, consumers stand to benefit the most by getting dual eSIM support without shelling out money for a new device.

Source :

Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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