South Korea will begin embedded subscriber identity module, known as eSIM, services from Thursday, allowing Koreans to have two different numbers in one mobile device, the Ministry of Science and ICT said Wednesday.
The eSIM service, an upgrade from the universal subscriber identity module, is based on downloading the electronic profile of subscribers to each device. Therefore, it does not require a physical USIM card change.
The ministry said Koreans can now choose between the two types of SIM cards, but eSIM offers faster and more convenient services as the entire purchasing process can be done online. The price of getting a new eSIM is 2,750 won ($2), much cheaper than buying a USIM at the minimum cost of 7,700 won, it added.
With the introduction of eSIM services, users can have two different phone numbers in one device -- one for USIM and another for eSIM.
According to the ministry, eSIM needs to be installed in smartphones from the production stage. Currently, Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4, along with Apple’s smartphone lineups beyond the iPhone XS, which hit the domestic market in 2018, have built-in eSIM services.
The ministry said it will cooperate with phone manufacturers and telecommunication operators to expand the list of mobile devices that can provide eSIM services.
The country’s three major mobile carriers -- SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus -- are holding promotions to offer eSIM free of charge for customers who buy eSIM services for the first time through December.
According to an intelligence report from GSMA, a global mobile communications organization, commercial eSIM services had been launched in at least 88 countries around the world as of June this year.
By Kan Hyeong-woo (email@example.com