With Android 13, we could discover smartphones without a SIM card

Google seems to be pushing the adoption of eSIM thanks to a new function on Android 13 which would allow the management of two numbers on the same eSIM.

With Android 13, we could discover smartphones without a SIM card

In recent years, manufacturers of smartphones and connected watches have been integrating more and more eSIM functionalities. Concretely, this function makes it possible to take advantage of a virtual SIM card, generally in addition to a real SIM card, to be reachable on a second telephone number or to take advantage of the data on a connected watch.

However, the eSIM has faced a major problem since its inception. On smartphones, it necessarily accompanies a real physical SIM card and cannot be used as the main technology, instead of a SIM card. It must be said that the eSIM is not compatible with dual SIM functionalities. It is therefore impossible for manufacturers to configure two telephone numbers with virtual SIMs, unless they use two separate eSIM components.

However, it seems that Google has taken a big step towards the democratization of the eSIM. As Mishal Rahman, former editor of XDA Developers and now editorial manager of Esper, reports, Google may be looking to push eSIM technology with the next version of Android, Android 13:

Google’s solution takes the form of multiple profiles enabled [ndlr : multiple enabled profiles] (MEP), a method to activate multiple SIM profiles on a single eSIM. Google was granted a patent for this technology in mid-2020 and several references to this technology in AOSP and the Android Developers site suggest that the company plans to integrate MEP support into Android 13, due later this year.

Concretely, the integration of MEP within Android should make it possible to use a single eSIM component in a smartphone to connect to several operators simultaneously, a function that was not offered until now.

Benefits for manufacturers, but obstacles for operators

The advantage of this solution is clear for smartphone manufacturers since it would eventually make it possible to completely get rid of the SIM card drawer while allowing end users to connect despite everything to several networks, and therefore to several numbers. phone. A particularly popular function in some countries, or simply useful for foreign nationals. On the side of the manufacturers, the removal of the SIM drawer could mean a significant saving of space to allow the integration of larger batteries, other components or simply to guarantee better solidity for their smartphone.

There is still a major brake on the side of mobile operators. Not all of them offer eSIM support, since they still want to guarantee a complete experience, ranging from the sale of smartphones to their connection to the network, through the sale of SIM cards. In France, the eSIM is for example offered by Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR, but not by Free Mobile. Google will therefore have to manage to convince operators to switch to eSIM, otherwise certain smartphones, without a physical SIM card drawer, may not be usable with a particular mobile operator.


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