Android 13 could kill the SIM card — here’s how


Although the eSIM has been part of the commercially available technology for six years now, adoption is still not exactly what you would call universal.

The benefits of completely removing the physical SIM card and switching to eSIM – a secure element built into the device’s motherboard that can download carrier information – are obvious. You can ditch the SIM tray to make the device less porous or free up space for a larger battery or other components. Although the nanoSIMs used these days are tiny, that space could still be used for something else. All the little things help.

But so far, although there are plenty of phones that support eSIM technology, almost all of them have it in addition to the SIM card tray, which limits the appeal. That’s partly because not all carriers support eSIM, although that picture has become much rosier in recent years, due to Apple’s adoption of the technology. The iPhone 13 already supports dual eSIMs, and now Google is reportedly looking to follow suit in Android 13.

Esper’s Mishaal Rahman – a fan of digging into Android 13 code to find out what features are coming – thinks Google is set to offer a way to allow multiple carriers to connect to a single eSIM in the next update. operating system update.

Currently, those who want to connect more than one carrier to their Android devices have a few options, and none of them are particularly elegant. They could buy a phone with space for two SIM cards, buy one with both a physical SIM card slot and eSIM support, or use eSIM only, but constantly have to juggle carriers.

According to Rahman, references to “multiple enabled profiles” (MEPs) have been spotted on the Android Open Source Project and Android Developers website, indicating adoption may be on the way in Android 13.

The company previously published this solution in a patent in 2020, and it works by splitting a physical interface between different digital connections. “No rewiring is required, so existing devices with a single eSIM chip hardwired to a modem can theoretically support MEP,” says Rahman.

“Google has started implementing the new APIs for MEP in the latest version of the SIM Manager app included in the Android 13 developer previews, but they haven’t yet enabled MEP support on Pixel devices as far as I know,” Rahman continues. .

He adds that it’s possible it will come to Pixel devices in a future beta “maybe behind a feature flag.”

Adoption of eSIM has been slow and nanoSIM remains the standard for now. But while not everyone wants multiple carriers on their phone, this could be an important step towards a day when fiddling with the SIM card removal tool is a thing of the past.


Comments are closed.