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Optus MVNOs can now support eSIMs, but what’s so great about that?

Posted: 22 June 2022 4:41 pm
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It's another win for those relying on the Optus mobile network.

Optus has just announced that mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) using the Optus network can now offer eSIMs to customers.

What does this mean for you?

This gives customers of those MVNOs the option to access a new mobile phone number in just minutes compared to days.

It's all possible thanks to QR code technology that will let postpaid and prepaid customers access both Optus's 4G and 5G networks.

Ben White, Optus managing director of wholesale, satellite and strategy, said:

"We are launching eSIMs because our MVNO partners want to offer their customers a more simple, sustainable and convenient way to join Optus's strong, nationwide network. Now, customers of our wholesale partners will have a simple new way of connecting without needing to acquire a physical SIM card."

What's an eSIM anyway?

Embedded SIMs (eSIMs) are a fairly new technology gaining traction in the last few years for its ease of use and sustainability.

It's a software solution for the plastic SIMs that most of us have sitting in our phones to connect us to a network.

Optus was the first mobile network provider in Australia to offer eSIMs back in 2020. It's still fairly exclusive to the big 3 telcos.

What are the benefits of an eSIM?

In short, eSIMs are:

  • More sustainable. They could lead to the end of SIM cards and spare the world from a lot more plastic pollution.
  • Super convenient. Switching providers is faster. You don't need to wait for a SIM to arrive in the mail or head into a retail store. Everything is done online.
  • More flexible and great for travellers. Your phone can operate with both a regular SIM and an eSIM. In theory, you could have a personal and work phone number on a single device or add an eSIM when you're on holiday. No more borrowing a paperclip to swap SIMs.

The one thing to keep in mind is that the technology is still new and largely restricted to more premium flagship phones (think iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices).

When are eSIMs going to be available from MVNOs?

Optus has signalled it's ready now, so it's down to the MVNOs to get on board. Once they do, there's no doubt they'll start letting their customers know that they can access eSIMs.

An Optus spokesperson told Finder that the rollout "will be done over the next 6–12 months".

This is great news for customers using the Optus network already with the following providers:

gomo, which is owned by Optus, already offers eSIMs if you want to try the experience.

Of course, if you're already with a Telstra MVNO, you may already have this option as Telstra made this move last year.

Why does this news matter?

The fact that you can now get an eSIM with an Optus MVNO makes switching to a smaller provider easier and quicker.

MVNOs can help you save money without getting you to compromise on the amount of data you receive in return. The only caveat is you might not get any other extra bells and whistles, which isn't a bad thing for most people looking to save money.

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