The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will sport dual SIM functionality but it’s not the sort of dual SIM setup many of us are accustomed to.

The aforementioned iPhones will make use of an eSIM rather than a physical card as the secondary SIM card which begs the question, what is an eSIM and are they available in South Africa?

To answer that first question we need to look at the definition of an eSIM as described by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA).

“eSIM is a global specification by the GSMA which enables remote SIM provisioning of any mobile device,” says the GSMA.

“eSIM now allows consumers to store multiple operator profiles on a device simultaneously, and switch between them remotely, though only one can be used at a time,” it continues.

Essentially then an eSIM is a digital SIM that can be programmed to be a SIM from any network. This allows manufacturers to save space inside the handset as there is no need for a SIM tray and the tech that reads the SIM.

For users an eSIM is a great solution especially while travelling. Rather than having to buy a SIM card when you land in a foreign country you could just visit a local telco and get your eSIM programmed to support one of that country’s networks.

So the next question then, do we have eSIMs in South Africa? The short answer is no.

Thankfully however folks like Vodacom are already working on bringing the tech to market.

“Vodacom is currently developing support for eSIM in conjunction with the various device manufacturers and will launch commercial support at the appropriate time,” a representative from the operator told us.

When exactly we’ll start seeing eSIMs in South Africa is unclear so if you’re considering the iPhone Xs and Xs Max for that functionality you might want to delay your purchase until we have a hard date on the availability of eSIMs locally.

Of course Apple could just decide to send South Africa the Chinese versions of the new iPhones which use a dual SIM tray to make dual SIM possible without the need for an eSIM but we’re doubtful this will happen.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]