Ever since Apple first announced eSIM support in its XR and S range of devices in 2018, all eyes were firmly placed on Samsung as the next OEM to support eSIM in its flagship devices.
According to ABI, the continuation of eSIM support from Apple, Google, and Samsung, plus the eSIM expansion by Samsung into other device ranges and several other OEMs launching flagship eSIM enabled devices, we can expect a minimum of 500 million eSIM capable smartphones to ship globally in 2024.
However, from a smartphone OEM perspective, Apple, Google, Samsung, and Motorola are the only vendors with eSIM capable smartphone devices. Further, although eSIM readiness from an operator perspective continues to improve, there is no operator to date exclusively supporting eSIM. At the same time, many operators are not yet eSIM ready.
The cellular market is fast approaching a new tipping point as it relates to consumer subscriptions and data consumption. Cellular speed and bandwidth remain important cellular aspects. Still, as data-centric consumption continues to rise and cellular connectivity enablement increases on more consumer device types (laptops, tablets, smartwatches etc.), emphasis will shift from data-centric billing toward device bundles.
Phil Sealy, Digital Security Research Director at ABI Research