Telstra to wholesale eSIM activations to MVNOs

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Telstra to wholesale eSIM activations to MVNOs

No 5G access yet.

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) on Telstra's network will be able to activate eSIMs for their customers over the coming few months as the feature goes live, the telco said.

Embedded subscriber identification modules (eSIMs) are fixed electronic circuits in mobile devices and machine-to-machine applications that are functionally identical to SIM cards that can be programmed to onboard subscribers to different providers and plans.

This allows customers to use two numbers on one phone, by swapping between the SIM card and an activated eSIM.

eSIMs also let telco subscribers use smartwatches independently of the smartphones they're connected to.

A Telstra spokesperson told iTnews that similarly to SIM cards, the wholesale eSIMs will be available on the telco's 3G and 4G networks, which have a claimed 98.8 percent coverage of Australia's population.

Customers activate eSIMs by scanning a QR code that downloads a profile to the device, which makes the process very simple and much more immediate, Telstra's wholesale segment and sales executive Glenn Osborne said.

Apart from newer smartphones, M2M devices, and the latest generation of smartwatches, Apple iPads also offer eSIM support at additional cost.

Tesla electric vehicles use eSIMs for their in-car connectivity, and Telstra said some analysts predict nine out of ten handsets will have the embedded subscriber authentication electronics by 2025.

Telstra currently has nine MVNOs using its network, including ALDI, Woolworths Mobile and Pennytel.

However, Telstra lost some big-brand MVNOs this year to competitor Optus who is wholesaling access to its 5G service as well as 4G.

Aussie Broadband announced in February that it is moving its 19,000 mobile customers to Optus, which provides access to 4G and 5G networks.

Macquarie Telecom is also set to drop off Telstra's network by signing a multi-year wholesale deal worth $34 million with Optus that gives the business-focused telco access to 5G service for its subscribers.

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