Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton describes eSIM technology as “The most disruptive technology we’ve seen in the marketplace” but it seems that disruption is being stilted by our big three telcos slowing the use of eSIMs in Australia

The idea of an eSIM is really quite simple. Phones and tablets and watches today can be built with an electronic SIM card built into them, something that doesn’t need to be removed or accessed to allow you to connect to a mobile network.

One of the better implementations of this is the Apple Watch. On your smartphone you say “yes I’d like to enable this eSIM on my Watch” then your Telco is sent some data from the Phone and Watch and hey presto that virtual SIM card is now active and you can make and take calls without a phone nearby.

Smartphones today have eSIMs in them too, allowing you to setup a new telco plan without ever having to get a SIM card sent to you, or head to the shops for a card.

But we haven’t seen the most of the eSIM yet, in fact, we’re lagging behind in terms of how these things could be used.

And that’s just why Peter Adderton from Boost mobile is so vocal about them. Earlier in the year he told me he saw a time when you would just scan a bar-code and connect to a mobile network. Amazing for travelers, but also those willing to switch and save across mobile networks

Speaking to Peter Adderton today on a Zoom call celebrating 20 years of the Boost Brand, Adderton said “You know how you know when you’ve got an incredibly disruptive technology?” going on to say “it’s by how slow the people who are going to be disrupted move”.

And that’s just the thing, Boost, nor any other carrier, can really implement changes in the onboarding process for customers using eSIMs without the Telcos themselves being part of the process. They are after all just a reseller of the network.

So if, in Boost’s case – Telstra don’t want eSIMs to be a big deal, then they can slow that process of change.

But slow isn’t the thing with eSIMs, Adderton describing the technology to EFTM saying “The ability to be able to move in seconds across multiple carriers, multiple networks is their worst fear.”

He went on to say “and I tell you who else’s worst fear that is, their shareholders because they do value a customer”

Adderton described a recent deal by Verizon in the USA to buy TracFone’s customer base of 21 million customers for $6.25billion – saying each customer was worth roughly $300 USD. He said “you don’t own that customer, that customer can move if they’ve had a bad experience in customer care, you don’t have to ring up and try to move you basically can move straight away” referring to how easy it could and should be to switch customers.

It’s the same in Australia, Amasim’s purchase of the OVO customer base valued those customers at $200 – would that value stick if customers were more able, as well as more willing to switch?

Adderton’s view on eSIM is simple, saying “I love eSIM, its so disruptive because of the speed carriers are not embracing them.”

Here’s EFTM’s view on how telco choice and switching should work.

It should be entirely online, or entirely on device. On an iPhone, under settings and Mobile Data, press a cross next to your current carrier and delete it. Browse a new carrier and click go. Use Apple Pay for example to pay for your first month, and within minutes you are ported over, number stays the same.

Or on their website, browse for a good deal, find one, click buy, scan a QR code.

Frankly, Telcos should be able to SMS or even put a barcode on a billboard that gives you 30 days free, switch, try, then buy.

But the big three wouldn’t really love that would they?

Disruption is inevitable, its just the pace of change that differs.