2degrees introduces eSIMs

Photo: File image
Photo: File image
2degrees has enabled a new feature today - electronic SIM cards or eSIMs, which replace a physical SIM card and allow one phone, iPad or smart watch to hold two or more mobile plans, each with its own number.

You could use one account for personal use, and one for work, or one for a local account and one you use when roaming overseas. 2degrees says an eSIM can also be used for its service while your physical SIM card remains on a Spark or Vodafone NZ account.

2degrees says its eSIM functionality - live from today for business customers, with consumer accounts to follow later this month - will work with a range of Apple, Samsung and Oppo devices (see list end of article).

2degrees says setting up an eSIM will cost the same as a physical SIM card which sell from $5. And if you have two phone accounts on one device, you'll get charged for both.

An eSIM (housed on your device's chip) can hold multiple profiles, each with its own mobile plan.

On most models, you can only have one eSIM profile active at a time - although you can have two phone numbers live at once if both an eSIM and a physical SIM are active.

Apple's iPhone 13 lets you have two eSIM profiles active simultaneously, but not a physical SIM at the same time.

Only one profile can be active at a time - but a device can have two numbers active at once if it has both an eSIM and its physical SIM active.

Spark became the first local telco to enable eSIM functionality for consumer customers back in 2019, shortly after Apple added the capability to its iPhone range. Its coporate customers got access to eSIMs earlier this year. "eSIM is available across our range of devices and wearables that Spark ranges and we offer One Number functionality on Apple Watch," a Spark spokeswoman said.

Vodafone NZ talked up a possible eSIM launch in 2020, but its latest online update says "We expect to have eSIM functionality available with our Pay Monthly plans in 2022". The Herald has asked Spark and Vodafone for updates.

"The real benefit to users is that they can have two SIMs active on a single handset. This is ideal for those who currently juggle a work and personal mobile, want to use a local SIM while roaming overseas, or have a backup service on their phone. Now they can use a single device and virtually switch between SIMs," says 2degrees chief marketing and strategy officer Zac Summers.

"Another huge bonus for 2degrees is that it allows people to trial our network without porting away from their current provider."

At launch, eSIMs will be available to business customers, with consumer services later in August and wearables to follow.

Summers says the process of setting up a compatible device for eSIM use is as simple as scanning a QR code. Business users should contact their account manager to kick off the process.

eSIM capable devices include:
• iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, all iPhone 11, 12 & 13 ranges, iPhone SE 2020, and SE 2022
• Samsung Galaxy S20, S21 and S22 ranges (excluding FE models), Note20 and Note20 Ultra, all Fold and Flip models
• Oppo Find X3 Pro, Find X5, Find X5 Pro
• iPad Mini 5th gen (2019) and later
• iPad Air 3rd gen (2019) and later
• iPad Pro 3rd gen (2018)

-By Chris Keall

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