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Telstra embraces eSIM technology with 'One Number'

27 September 2017 by Michelle Lewis 0 Comments

Telstra has embraced new eSIM technology with the launch of One Number, a service which will let you connect both your phone and wearable device to the same phone number and mobile data plan.

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^ No more needing to take your smartphone for a run, thanks to eSIM technology.

eSIM has arrived

Australians will soon be able to make and receive phone calls, and check and send text messages from their compatible wearable device, without needing their smartphone with them.

The technology advance is possible due to the introduction of new eSIM technology. 

eSIM literally means “embedded SIM”, a permanently fitted SIM, around 10 times smaller than a nano SIM, pre-installed in wearables to connect them without needing to pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth.

 

How does eSIM technology work?

A global eSIM specification has been backed by Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Huawei, Sony, and LG, along with chip makers, SIM makers, and telecommunications carriers.

The initiative does not aim to replace all SIM cards in the field, but is instead designed to help users connect multiple devices through the same subscription and will help mobile device manufacturers develop a new range of smaller, lighter mobile-connected devices that are better suited for wearable technology applications. 

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Telstra One Number first off the mark

Telstra has embraced the new eSIM technology with the launch this week of its new One Number service.

As the Telstra One Number product name suggests, it allows customers to use the same phone number across their wearables as they use for their smartphone, and allows the sharing of data, calls, and texts inclusions from their mobile plan.

Telstra is offering a 3-month free trial of One Number and thereafter the service will be charged at $5 per month on a casual basis.

Of course, in order for One Number to work you will need just a few things...

  • A Telstra ID (free)
  • A Telstra mobile plan
  • An eligible iPhone (iPhone SE and later running iOS11)
  • An Apple Watch Series 3

But if you have got all those components then you are ready to connect.

 

First Telstra supported wearable is Apple Watch Series 3 

Telstra is launching One Number with only one supported wearable - the just released Apple Watch Series 3.

Telstra promises more use cases will follow but has given no indication of what or when. However, both Samsung and Huawei have had eSIM smartwatches available for some years which the technology can be applied to.

To date, the chief stumbling block of smart watches and fitness trackers is that they have needed to be constantly tethered to your phone with Bluetooth pairing used to access calls, messages and notifications on the wearable.

Alternatively, to get the most out of the wearable device, you would need to purchase a separate data plan or keep swapping the SIM between both devices..

One Number plans will change all this by syncing compatible wearables and allowing them to be used independently from the phone.

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What are the benefits of eSIM for business ?

Initially, Telstra is only supporting the the Apple Watch Series 3,  so the immediate benefits are not particularly relevant to business. However, it will not be long before eSIM technology opens the door to a whole range of business benefits including:

  • Asset Tracking:

    How many laptops are currently lost to businesses? Understandably this data is difficult to quantify but freedom of information enquiries discovered at least 1,000 Government laptops went missing in the 18 months to December 2016. eSIMs will allow the tracking of any embedded asset.

  • Global Roaming: 

     Strong global brand power paired with the technology of reprogrammable e-SIMs—supporting over-the-air provisioning of multiple electronic user profiles of global operators—can be turned into easy-to-use offers for global travelers. These transparently priced global roaming services will allow users to choose a local network with a few clicks on the device. At the 2017 Mobile World Congress, Lenovo unveiled its upgraded Lenovo Connect e-SIM feature, which aims to give international business travelers a seamless connection and local wireless pricing even when they are overseas by taking advantage of local Telco contract for data. 

  • Telecom Expense Optimisation

    At this time, TEMs optimisation  shuffles end users between plans to accurately reflect usage, guarding against the two extremes of under-utilised plan allowances or excess charges for over-allowance use. Just imagine if that optimisation process could be expanded to the best value plan cross-carrier. Many VoicePlus customers already have "split fleets". eSIM technology will make it simple to switch between carriers.

  • Social Network Optimisation

    The voice services that social-media platforms offer rely on available Wi-Fi connectivity to provide voice services either entirely via a data connection or by using a temporary connection to a cellular network. Call quality depends in part on the seamless switching between those connectivity avenues, and e-SIMs would facilitate smoother “handovers” with dynamic (and automatic) operator selection. 

  • Carrier Churn

    Customers in the future may be able to switch operators and offers (the prepaid client base, at least) more easily, and short-term promotions may trigger network switching. This means that churn between operators in a strong prepaid ecosystem will likely increase. The ability to change providers easily means that e-SIM customers don’t have to carry multiple SIMs, have full tariff transparency, and can more easily avoid roaming charges.

  • Enabling the Internet of Things

    With eSIM technology, mobile network operators have the ability to provide convergent offers with multiple devices (for instance, the smart car and smart watch) under a single contract with the consumer more conveniently. No more having to sync my bluetooth whenever I get in the car has to be a good thing. Other use cases include:

    • Design and development of IoT supporting applications
    • Tracking and monitoring of the products (transportation)
    • Tracking the end user lifestyle (wearable/security)
    • Measuring the state of machines (connected cars, industrial equipment
    • Tracking usage of any services (smart metering).

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