By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor
MTN Nigeria Plc, on Wednesday, began the trial of embedded Subscriber Identity Modules, e-SIM, services on its network, making it the first to do so in West Africa.
e-SIM is basically a small chip inside the phone which does not require physical SIM cards or swapping. It enables the phone work in a similar way to the Near Field Communication, NFC, chip that is used for payment technologies.
MTN said the service is based on approvals received from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
The technology, commonly described as the next step in the evolution of SIMs, is designed to deliver unprecedented freedom and flexibility.
Unlike the physical SIMs, e-SIMs are built into smartphones, devices and wearables. They support multiple profiles and allow customers to connect multiple numbers to the devices they are deployed in.
According to MTN, the trial which kicked-off today (Wednesday) will run for one year and is open on a first come first served basis to a limited number of subscribers, who own compatible devices.
Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mazen Mroue, said the company was eager to get through the trial process so that the technology can be deployed for the benefit of every Nigerian.
His words: “We are in a fast-paced digital age with new technological advancements driving the constantly changing landscape.
“Against this backdrop, customers depend on us to provide high quality, reliable and easy-to-use connectivity solutions.
“With the introduction of the e-SIM, we will offer customers a seamless and distinctive digital experience with new levels of flexibility, simplicity and convenience.
“This is a further demonstration of our firm commitment to delivering the benefits of a bold new digital world to our customers; and we will continue seeking new ways to provide solutions that address old and new challenges, making life a little easier and brighter.”
Mroue noted that notwithstanding the sophistication of e-SIMs, the onboarding requirements are the same as are required for a physical SIM.
He advised users to remember that like the physical SIM, e-SIM also requires registration in line with existing regulatory prescriptions for activating a device embedded with an e-SIM.
e-SIMs are particularly useful for people who want to manage personal and business lines easily and effectively or want a separate profile for data.
The new technology will also be extremely convenient for frequent travellers and tourists, making it easier for them to opt for and keep a local subscription when visiting Nigeria.
MTN said it is spearheading e-SIM adoption in Nigeria as part of efforts to enable the digital economy, drive digital transformation, foster inclusion, improve customer experience and maintain the highest quality of service for its customers.