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eSIM and its impact on the Customer Experience

 

Apple recently announced that the iPhone XS will support electronic SIM's. The eSIM significantly alters the experience of the customer in terms of how they interact with their devices. Before I get into the details, let me explain what is an eSIM.

An eSIM is a little piece of hardware that is embedded within the phone that can hold and manage the profiles needed to connect to a mobile network. eSIM's have a distinct advantage over physical SIM's.

  • An eSIM can be provisioned electronically by downloading a profile onto the user's device. Unlike a physical SIM, the user won't have to go to a store, buy the SIM and insert it into their device and wait for it to get activated. They can seamlessly manage the process online.
  • A user can have multiple eSIM profiles, allowing them to switch between the same. So while roaming, the user won't need to buy and swap physical SIM's. They could seamlessly switch profiles between their local and roaming providers.

eSIM's have applicability in both B2C scenarios and B2B scenarios.

The most interesting B2C use case is around wearables such as smartwatches. A customer with an eSIM enabled Smartwatch can purchase a plan that allows the watch to function pretty much as an independent mobile device.

The most common B2B use cases are in the area of M2M and IoT. The provisioning of SIM's on the connected devices is made much simpler if these devices are enabled with eSIM's.

A B2B2C example is in the use of medical monitoring devices. eSIM enabled wearables that help monitor a patients vital statistics can be provided by a service provider as a part of the medical support service.

Telcos are gearing up their solution landscape to support eSIM based devices. This impacts various applications across their ecosystem.

1. eSIM remote subscription management:  Operator profiles for eSIM need to be managed similar to inventory. A solution is needed to procure and provision the eSIM profiles and manage the eSIM lifecycle. This solution has to integrate with the operator's BSS systems.

2. Multi-SIM capability:  When the customer receives makes or receives a call, a single number should be applicable across the phone and the wearable device. This requires the B/OSS systems as well as the network to have the ability to handle the one number to multiple SIM mapping.

3. Sharing plans/propositions: A wearable device would normally be tagged to a primary device such as a phone. The mobile plans should allow sharing of data/voice across the multiple devices that the customer has, making it seamless for the customers to manage their allowances and bills. These plans with sharing capabilities need to set up in the CRM and Billing systems and made available for sale via the channels.

The Telecom operators need to make significant enhancements to their digital channels, CRM and Billing systems to support the seamless digital experience offered by the eSIMs for the customer. These enhancements and associated costs will be become imperative to keep pace with competition as the adoption of eSIM's continues to rise.

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