The GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association) has found that China has become a significant driver for the adoption of new eSIM technologies in mobile phones, according to a report made by GSMA Intelligence and the Telecommunication Terminal Industry Forum Association, a non-profit organisation created by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

The development is likely to help drive the adoption of eSIMs overall. Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer for GSMA, emphasised the importance of the new technology, saying that it was one of the “diverse arrays of products hitting the market which utilises the benefits of connectivity and brings consumers a choice”.

According to the report, China’s usage of eSIMs is starting to grow, particularly in smartwatches. While the usage is still generally quite low and most devices within China do not use eSIMs yet, the mobile industry in China has been collaborating to create an environment for the transition to using eSIMs with the launch of platforms for consumers to use the new tech.

Additionally, the groundwork for the necessary legislation on eSIM technology is already being fostered, which is essential for its growth and adoption.

Globally, significant strides have been made in preparing for the adoption of eSIM technology, both for smartwatches as well as other devices that range from mobile phones to laptop computers. Over 90 different players in the mobile industry have been working to streamline their approach in order to avoid conflicts that lead to fragmentation and problems with interoperability. This will help to ensure a smooth transition and support additional consumer options.

SIM cards, or “subscriber identity module” cards, are the small chips inside mobile devices that authenticate the device to a carrier, allowing it to utilise cell towers and thus, the mobile services provided by that specific card’s carrier.

With eSIM technology, the SIM card does not need to be removed when changing carriers. Rather, it is permanently embedded into the phone and changing carriers is handled from within the phone’s settings or on an app, enabling users to even have multiple accounts and easily switch between them.