The eSIM has been around for a good few years now – unless you’re a customer of Three that is. Three began trials of eSIMs as far back as 2020, but three years on customers are still struggling to get an eSim. How do you get a Three eSIM? Read on to find out what’s happening and who can get them.
What is an eSIM?
Instead of putting a little piece of plastic into the phone’s SIM-card slot, an eSIM is a virtual SIM card. They’re good for the environment, because the phone network doesn’t have to manufacture plastic SIM cards, package them and send them to customers. They’re good for the networks, because eSIMs reduce their costs. And they’re good for the consumer, because they should be less hassle than those increasingly fiddly pieces of plastic.
Many of the leading smartphones now offer support for eSIMs, including the latest Apple iPhones. eSIMs can also be used in devices that can’t physically accommodate a SIM card, such as smartwatches.
If you want to see how you activate an eSIM card, Three produced this video during its trial:
How do you get an eSIM from Three?
Frustratingly, it’s still not possible for the vast majority of customers to get an eSIM from Three.
Three began trials of eSIMs in selected stores in 2020, but spent the next two years telling customers they were coming soon.
It seemed like there was finally a breakthrough in June 2022, when Three announced limited support for eSIMs for Apple Watch owners. And though the company has conducted yet more trials with customers in selected stores, Three is still to fully support eSIMs across its network at the time of writing in January 2023, as you can see from the tweet below, which is almost a cut-and-paste job of the tweet they sent me above, with the year changed.
There is some cause for optimism. Three’s support page for eSIMs has changed since I last looked at in the summer of 2022, and now includes instructions on how to install eSIMs on iPhones, Android phones and Google Pixel devices, suggesting that the company is geared up for wider phone support. But why it’s taking Three so long to sort this out is anyone’s guess.
One thing’s for sure – with Apple now dropping support for SIM cards in its latest iPhones in the US, it’s going to happen over here soon. If Three doesn’t get its act together this year, it could lose a lot of customers.