Vodafone to introduce eSIM enabled consumer proposition in Germany with Samsung Gear S2 classic 3G smartwatch as first device

Patrick Chomet, Group Director of Terminals, Vodafone

Vodafone will soon launch the Samsung Gear S2 classic 3G smartwatch in Germany. It is one of the first devices in any market to contain an embedded SIM (eSIM) based on a new industry-agreed specification, a development that will enable our customers to connect many more types of devices to their Vodafone account in future.


Virtualisation of the SIM card

Unlike a traditional SIM card, which is pre-provisioned with an operator profile, eSIMs are reprogrammable. The profile of a chosen operator is installed, activated or changed via an encrypted communication over a mobile or fixed network. As a result, eSIMs continue to meet the highest customer safety requirements.

eSIMs are already used for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. The introduction of eSIMs for consumers will deliver them multiple benefits:

  • more connected devices – eSIMs are smaller than traditional removable SIM cards, enabling devices including smartwatches, fitness trackers or even glasses to have stand-alone mobile connectivity for the first time;
  • easy to add to a data plan – connecting devices with eSIMs to a mobile account can become as simple as it currently is to add a device to home broadband; and
  • faster to get connected – consumer devices with eSIMs will be able to connect to mobile data networks pretty much straight out of the box.


Industry-supported specification important for success of eSIM

Vodafone has been engaged in innovative SIM developments for a long time. We led the creation of the M2M remote provisioning specification through the GSMA and in the consumer space were the first operator to experiment with ‘over the air’ provisioning of devices.

Vodafone SIM cards were pre-installed in devices including the Sony PlayStation Vita, and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX. After turning on their device for the first time, it took just a few clicks for customers to connect to Vodafone’s 3G and 4G networks.

An aligned specification was needed in order to make eSIM use scalable, interoperable and ensure the highest standards of customer care and security.

The new specification - which covers mobile ‘companion devices’ like wearables and tablets - has been agreed by the GSMA, mobile network operators, mobile device manufacturers and SIM vendors. An additional specification, expected in June 2016, will extend the same rules to any consumer mobile device.

This agreed industry approach creates an open, secure and interoperable system that will ensure a good experience for our customers. Multiple, competing proprietary implementations for remote provisioning would increase the costs and technical risks for mobile operators, and our customers.   


Samsung Gear S2 classic 3G

As a result of this work, soon Vodafone Germany customers will easily be able to add the Samsung Gear S2 classic 3G smartwatch to a great value Vodafone Red tariff. Once connected to our 4G network, customers will be confidently connected while doing everything from receiving calls to tracking a run – even if they leave their smartphone at home.

With an industry-agreed system for remote provisioning in place, our customers can look forward to eSIMs enabling them to connect a new generation of devices using Vodafone’s fast and reliable mobile networks.