Telkom announces eSIM support for smartphones


Following today’s announcement, Telkom Mobile becomes the latest operator to support eSIM enabled smartphones on their network.

If you hadn’t heard of it before, using a digital eSIM (Embedded Subscriber Identification Module) means users can connect to a mobile network without a physical SIM card.

eSIM Pros and Cons

As the ‘e’ in eSIM suggests, users will download a network profile onto an embedded module in their phones that cannot be removed. You’ll need to activate that profile to gain access to the network. You’ll need either a prepaid or post-paid plan with the mobile operator of your choice.

Currently, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and now Telkom support the feature on their networks. Enabling this functionality depends on the network but usually it involves scanning a QR code. The great thing about eSIMs is that you can have several profiles on your device at a time, in addition to any physical SIM slots that your device has.

Only one profile can be active at a time but switching profiles is definitely easier than switching between physical SIMs if your device only supports one of the latter.

eSIMs are not without their disadvantages though. If you switch devices constantly, transferring your eSIM profiles is slightly more of a process than just transferring your physical SIM. Furthermore, support is still relatively new so you’ll only find it in high-end, usually expensive devices.

It should be noted though, that Telkom will only support smartphones from launch. Currently, those are:

  • Apple – XS, XR, 11, 12
  • Samsung – S20 series, S21 series, Note 20 series and Galaxy Z Fold 2 (and presumably the Fold 3)
  • Huawei – Mate 40 series, P40 series

Support for other devices, like smartwatches, will come at a later stage, according to the press release. 


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I've been interested in tech for as long as I can remember. A few facts about me; I learnt how to code when I was 5, I helped Mark Shuttleworth develop Ubuntu when I was 9 and now I write for a tech publication. Only one of those facts is true. I also have a drama degree, hence the writing.

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