How Airtel’s eSIM works

By Elijah Odhiambo

Barely two years since Jamii Telecommunications Limited and Safaricom launched an eSim feature, rival telco giant Airtel, has unveiled the feature in the Kenyan market.

According to Airtel Kenya’s Managing Director, Ashish Malhotra, the move to unveil the eSim feature has been catapulted by the changing customer expectations.

“We are confident that our customers will quickly move to our eSlM for what it delivers. Mobile users reward digital convenience therefore as a business we shall continue enabling digital transformation to deliver the full customer experience,” Malhotra said.

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows one to activate a cellular plan from their device  without having to use a physical SIM.

It is an embedded SIM within the phone that cannot be physically removed.

Airtel Company’s Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya said the introduction of the eSIM will enable the service provider to stay ahead in the competitive market.

He noted that the feature offers several benefits over the traditional SIM cards, as it is quick and simple to set up online alongside making it convenient for switching network operators between states at a much easier rate.

“With the introduction of eSIM in Kenya, Airtel continues to stay ahead of the curve where innovation is concerned by giving customers much convenience and flexibility,” the Group CEO said.

Airtel Kenya now joins competitors Safaricom and Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL) in companies with the eSIM feature.

Jamii Telecommunications was the first mobile network operator in the country to unveil and enable eSIM services for subscribers to its Faiba network in January 2021 with Safaricom following suit in June of the same year.

How to get eSIM on your phone

Airtel Kenya says subscribers who wish to try out the new feature and have compatible device can do so by dialing *#06#, obtain the required QR code and be guided through a SIM Swap process by an Airtel service personnel.

The company further says the subscribers can visit any Airtel shop for guidance.

“To get an eSIM visit any Airtel shop and our customer care executive will walk you through the process of setting up your eSIM using the QR code,” the company says.

Compatible devices that support eSIM

The following devices supports the eSIM feature:

  1. iPhone X
  2. iPhone Xs
  3. iPhone 11
  4. iPhone 12
  5. Samsung Galaxy S21
  6. Galaxy Z Fold
  7. Galaxy NOTE 20
  8. iPhone SE 2020

Benefits of eSIM over traditional SIM

The feature is very important and has a number of benefits. For example, for iPhone users, one can have two networks running at the same time.

When travelling to different locations, eSim allows to just buy one eSIM for whichever network in that country, hence saving on costs incurred when roaming.

In addition, with the feature, one has multiple data plans and can easily switch between networks when need be.


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