Tech Tips
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eSIMs - How telecommunications combine innovation and sustainability

April 19, 2022
Alexis Miller

As the telecommunications sector works to make the globe more sustainable while still providing consumers with convenience and flexibility, the omnipresent SIM card will be eventually phased out. Ultimately, the transition from regular SIM cards to eSIMs – the most environmentally friendly SIMs – will aid mobile network operators in meeting their sustainability goals.


Understanding the environmental impact of SIM Cards


SIM cards' impact on the environment may seem negligible due to their modest size. However, their aggregate weight equates to an estimated 20,000 tons of plastic and other polymers used annually.


With customers using a rising number of SIM cards — for example, moving carriers, replacing lost or broken SIM cards, or temporarily subscribing - waste is expanding. 4.5 billion plastic SIM cards were manufactured in 2020. If they were strung together, they would cover 11,250 kilometers – the distance between Delhi, India, and Montreal, Canada.


Exploring the environmental benefits of the eSIM


Although industry efforts to utilize recycled plastic SIM cards are a start in the right direction, further solutions may help reduce the environmental impact even further. However, being environmentally conscious does not entail us sacrificing innovation. With the e-SIM, users may take advantage of the newest technological breakthroughs in telecommunications while also reducing their environmental impact.


The eSIM is a required development that provides a durable, scalable solution to the SIM card challenge, particularly for enterprises. Embedded SIM cards or eSIMs eliminate the need for a physical SIM card by digitally storing the network authentication credentials typically saved on the plastic SIM. Essentially, an eSIM provides the same function as a standard SIM card, as it manages authentication and service access for mobile devices, but with one critical distinction.


Overall, eSIMs bring various environmental benefits:

· Fewer materials - Most importantly, eSIMs eliminate the need for plastic, since the SIM chips are soldered directly into the gadget. Also, since eSIMs are digital, they do not need heavy packaging. Reduced reliance on plastic and other physical materials means firms can produce fewer items. This significantly minimizes the resources required to run a factory and the toxic chemicals and trash generated by industrial operations.

· Streamlined Logistics - Plastic SIM cards generate a complicated logistical chain that extends worldwide — primarily via plane. By contrast, the eSIM requires almost no physical logistics.

· No extra resources - One significant way that eSIM management benefits the environment is by removing the requirement for additional resources, such as transportation and workforce. This reduces hazardous waste and saves businesses money on labor, materials, manufacturing, and processing time.


Are eSIMs the sustainable future of telecommunications?


Along with the financial and environmental advantages associated with the eSIM, this integrated technology also improves the user experience. Once consumers become more aware of the convenience and cost-saving benefits of eSIM, they will begin to choose it over conventional, removable SIM chips.


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