The eSIM technology on Chinese smartphones is "under research", says MIIT

September 16, 2022 10:59 pm

The eSIM technology has once again gained attention with the arrival of the iPhone 14, as Apple decided to totally remove the SIM tray from the US version of its newest flagships while the majority of areas have the hybrid option with one SIM and one eSIM built in.

eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a type of SIM card that is directly inserted into a device chip rather than being physically inserted like a regular pluggable SIM card.

It's interesting to note that the mixed SIM/eSIM option has been available for years since the iPhone 11's release, but only China mainland, Hong Kong, and Macau has been offering models that allow dual physical SIM cards.

Additionally, Apple has removed the eSIM chip from iPhones sold on China mainland due to a lack of local licensing requirements. As of right now, IoT gadgets, such as wearables, are the only ones that can use the eSIM technology in China.

With the vibe getting hotter, on the official website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) , China's technology watchdog, a netizen recently questioned whether China has any intentions to promote eSIM mobile phone cards.

In response, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said: "The Ministry attaches great importance to the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and insists on vigorously promoting the application and promotion of new technologies and equipment on the basis of ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of users and information security. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is now establishing the necessary infrastructure to conduct research and promote the use of eSIM technology on tablets, portable computers, and smartphones."

On October 19, 2020, China Telecom and China Mobile were granted permission by MIIT to provide nationwide eSIM technology application services in IoT devices. 

MIIT also made it clear that data service, and the related directional voice and SMS services, are the only eSIM technology applications available under the license.

Why China has been so cautious with this technology is unclear. This year, China has been fighting the widespread telecom scams. Earlier this month, a national law was passed to prevent telecom fraud and it will go into force in December.