Qualcom planning "iSIM" - on SoC

I’m not even thrilled about eSIMs, much less iSIMs:

Score 1 more for The Black Box! :frowning_face:

What will we L5 users do if physical SIMs completely disappear?


Eh, I could take it or leave it. Though I suppose requiring software to provision the sim is an additional way to hack/hijack a sim.

Fair question but I wouldn’t worry about that for a while. After all, there are plenty of dongles in the world and plenty of cellular modem modules in the world (e.g. back-to-base alarms).

Bad case: eventually you have to replace your cellular modem module with one that effectively has an iSIM in it. Yes, it’s more of a black box, less transparent.

eSIMs are already provisioned OTA so I don’t know that iSIM makes it much worse.

The only disadvantage that I see is that the equivalent of removing the SIM no longer exists. You may not be able to erase the SIM information at all, or disable it temporarily, or even if you can erase the SIM information, you can’t be sure that it is really gone. However all of that is already true with eSIM, as far as I can see.

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Theoratically someone could a modem with exchangeable eSIM module. That may look different that classical SIMs.

I read this (perhaps incorrectly) that you can’t erase an esim, which isn’t the case. I don’t think it would be the case for isim either. Otherwise that would mean switching providers would mean switching phones, and I don’t believe anybody would go for that.

I sometimes move my physical SIM(s) from this phone to that just for testing purposes, or to use a different phone for a while, so I think that will be much less convenient with xSIMs.


Two cans and a string.

I understand the idea of savings is put forward as a general concept but I am uncertain about any calculus used to define “savings”. A lot of that is bad math that fails to fully account for total cost of ownership/delivery. So I don’t buy it. This appears simply to be a solution in search of a problem.

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For sure it won’t cause the size of today’s humongous phones to shrink, so I’m not sure what they plan to do with all that newfound space. :roll_eyes:

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There’s a long history of sim-locking, and I wouldn’t be quite certain that it won’t repeat itself.


No, you read it correctly but slightly missed the point.

If I have a SIM then I can physically remove the SIM and I can be 100% certain that the SIM is no longer in the phone and close to 100% certain that the SIM information is no longer available to the phone.

Now look at the situation with eSIM. Your level of control and certainty both just went down. I don’t mean to suggest that I know for a fact that your eSIM will not allow an erase, only that whether it allows an erase is no longer within your control and whether the erase is a “no-op” is opaque to you.

Also, as @amarok points out, the same questions arise in the context of SIM swapping. With a SIM, they literally can’t stop you moving the SIM from one phone to another and in my experience they don’t stop that from working. With an eSIM, you might require the cooperation of your mobile service provider just to “move a SIM”, since only the provider can download the content to the eSIM (provision the eSIM).

I think the big benefit of an eSIM over a SIM is the easy possibility of having a dual SIM phone, which possibility can even benefit the consumer.

For example, current model iPhones support both SIM and eSIM, and allow both to be provisioned independently for “dual SIM” operation. (By definition therefore, in order to use dual SIM operation, one of your mobile service providers must support eSIM.)

I have my doubts that we will see any more actual dual SIM phones.

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Aren’t new iPhones going eSIM-only? If so, then every OEM will jump on that bandwagon, because “Apple!”

I hope dual physical SIM phones don’t disappear. They’re very useful for foreign travel.

And I hope we see (even) more features from JMP.chat. You can already buy and add as many numbers as you want to a device, and they’re capable of doing calls, SMS, and MMS. Unfortunately, Soprani (JMP) can only provide U.S. and Canada numbers right now (although I think even people from the rest of the world can buy one of those if they want a U.S./Canada number). They recently introduced a data SIM and data eSIM, but those, too, can only roam in the U.S. and Canada, although there’s hope that they can expand internationally.

Hah, good pickup. The most current model is the iPhone 14. Wikipedia says

eSIM only (US models)

Dual nano-SIM (China models)

nano-SIM and eSIM (Worldwide except US and China)

I guess that tells us that in the US all providers support eSIM, and in China no or close to no providers support eSIM. But I would imagine that the inexorable direction is eSIM-only-everywhere.

As someone in the third category (not US and not China), what I said is true of my actual iPhone (and that is guaranteed because I put the physical SIM in the tray myself, moved conveniently from another phone).

The reality is that once you go eSIM, you could even contemplate “triple SIM”.

Sure, but only while other countries still favour or require a physical SIM. In reality once all or most countries support eSIM, eSIM is actually better for foreign travel as you could use two eSIMs for domestic plan juggling and then on arrival in a foreign country, throw a local provider into the third eSIM.

There’s nothing inherently bad about eSIM from the perspective of foreign travel. It’s just a question of adoption. Which means right now it would suck to buy an iPhone 14 in the US and then expect to be able to travel to a country where eSIM adoption is poor or non-existent (if you expect to buy a local “SIM” rather than relying on expensive roaming). You’ll need to borrow mine. :slight_smile:

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If nothing else, it should stop Librem 5 owners destroying their SIM card by trying to remove the SIM while the phone is powered up (and anecdotally Apple also says to shutdown before messing with a physical SIM).

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I have always heard this, too, for every kind of mobile phone.

Discussion on Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35019158.