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Revolut launches eSIM plan for 100 countries

Financial institution claims to be first company of its kind in the UK to launch embedded subscriber identity module offering a cost-effective way to access data plans without unexpected roaming charges in over 100 countries

Having seen a 2023 marked by huge growth and uptake over the course of the year, and now poised to reshape the cellular internet of things (IoT) landscape, the embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) industry is spreading its wings – and it may be about to cash in with the financial sector, as global financial app Revolut has become the first financial institution in the UK to offer eSIMs and global data plans to its UK customers.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Apple and Samsung are increasingly offering eSIM-enabled devices. Compared with traditional SIM cards, eSIMs offer benefits such as cost reduction, operational efficiency and enhanced security.

New eSIM technology can take advantage of a new industry standard that empowers remote deployment and programming. This is designed to enable cellular operators, device manufacturers, users or third-party eSIM managers to programme devices for network operator switches, eliminating the need for physical SIM card replacements.

Research from Omdia in 2023 calculated that eSIM and the associated iSIM technology will be adopted by nearly 90% of enterprises by the end of 2025.

Explaining the rationale for the launch, Revolut noted that the cost of using mobile data overseas has increased in recent years. Indeed, since the  left the European Union (EU), all mobile suppliers bar Virgin Media O2 have reintroduced mobile roaming charges for those travelling in the EU, presenting an opportunity for eSIM suppliers. In addition, Revolut emphasised that data charges for the rest of the world are almost always outside the standard benefits.

Revolut boasts over 35 million customers worldwide, with more than eight million in the UK alone. Its new eSIM product is designed to allow customers to roam like a local, and stay connected without unexpected roaming charges and interruptions.

Available to UK customers from 16 February, Revolut customers on eSIM compatible devices will have access to the identity module, regardless of their plan. Once installed, customers will be able to top-up data wherever they go – without any need for a physical SIM. UK customers will be able to install a single eSIM fully digitally, which can be topped up in their Revolut app whenever they need. The eSIM can be used simultaneously, alongside a physical SIM, allowing customers to switch between networks.

Read more about eSIM

  • Shaka closes $1m eSIM seed funding round: London-based embedded connectivity startup announces $1m seed round led by Haatch, Purple Ventures, Antler and telco angel investors to use eSIM technology.
  • eSIM adoption drives growth and market disruption in cellular IoT: Study reveals that embedded subscriber identity modules have gained more popularity from users and device makers than mobile operators but that is changing thanks to a new specification for IoT eSIMs.
  • 5G, eSIM now a must for IoT enterprises: Despite a recent step back by some tech players, research finds that enterprises are still embracing the internet of things and embedded subscriber identity module technology and are seeing positive outcomes.
  • eSIM proves green credentials: Independent study by provider of adapted system integration technologies at wafer, chip and board level confirms eSIM as an environmentally friendly SIM solution​.

Connecting the eSIM enables customers to use the Revolut app without using up their mobile data allowance. That means if a Revolut customer lands in a country and doesn’t have data access, they can still access their Revolut app and use all of the products and features, including topping up their data if they run out.

“At Revolut, we harness technology to simplify our customers’ lives, and that’s precisely what our eSIM accomplishes,” said Elyas Sadou, product owner of eSIM at Revolut. “It offers seamless access to mobile data, eliminating the inconvenience of high prices or the need to buy and organise a physical SIM card. Whether you are in the US, Australia or Egypt, you can effortlessly secure a data plan with just a few taps on your phone, and then instantly share those breathtaking photos of your trip with friends and family. It’s a game-changer for people who love to travel.”

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