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Super SIM card: What is it and will this change the shape of the Indian smartphone industry?

The Super SIM is a recent invention that has been selling in China for some time. Will this technology work in India and who could benefit from it?

twitter-logoAmritanshu Mukherjee | April 1, 2020 | Updated 17:11 IST

Highlights

  • China has been selling Super SIM cards for users who demand more storage space.
  • Super SIM cards can store SIM card data and some extra storage space.
  • Super SIM cards donít have a future in the Indian market.

The smartphone market has been expanding rapidly and the advent of new technologies has only made our lives easier. High resolution cameras, faster charging for batteries, better displays and so on -- there are so many useful innovations that it could take pages. One area where the development has sort of halted is the SIM card -- despite high-end phones with cutting-edge technologies, we still have to pop-in plastic cards to connect to a network.

While the eSIM technology promises to fix that with digital connectivity, it may take years to go mainstream. China, however, has another solution where it can make physical cards more useful than simply connecting to networks. They have worked on Super SIM cards that replace the need for having a SIM card and a memory card separately on a phone. Based on a report from Gizmochina, Super SIM cards start at $14 and they tag along loads of storage space.

Will this technology work in India? If Jio or Airtel start bringing Super SIM cards to our markets, will it change the way we use our smartphones?

Super SIM card: What is it?

A Super SIM Card is essentially a single card that houses SIM card data as well as some extra storage space. Currently, in China, you can buy Super SIM cards with storage space of either 32GB or 128GB. The idea behind the card is to have a SIM Card and some useable storage space on a single plastic card.

Where is it useful?

Super SIM cards are useful for those who use phones with hybrid SIM slots and want extra storage as well as two connections. With a Super SIM card, you can have two connections in one phone without sacrificing expandable memory storage. Phone makers could also benefit from having a smaller slot, thus releasing more space inside for additional components.

Will Super SIMs work in India?

The idea of the Super SIM card can entice those users who want more storage on their phones. Most affordable smartphones in India currently ship with either a hybrid SIM slot or a triple card slot. The Super SIM can help especially those users who have a phone with a hybrid SIM card slot. That said, chances of the Super SIM card making it to the future of smartphones is blurry and there are several good reasons behind it.

-First is the cost, which is too high compared to a regular SIM card. Super SIM cards start at $14 whereas a regular SIM card barely costs Rs 50. That price gap is huge and many may not be willing to pay for that, especially when one can get a micro SD card with larger storage capacity at similar prices.

-Super SIM will harm businesses of phone makers and telecom operators. For phone makers, the Super SIM will make higher storage variants on their phones pointless and hence, most buyers may opt for the cheaper variants. For telecom operators, they will have to partner with micro Sd card manufacturers and the overall cost won't be profitable for the business, especially when operators like Jio and Airtel want their customers to opt for cloud storage on a subscription model.

-Speaking of cloud storage, most users these days rely on Google Drive or other free storage options. With OTT platforms on the rise, a majority of people now stream content instead of downloading and storing on devices. Hence, Super SIM cards won't make any sense for these users.

-Lastly, most expensive phones from OnePlus and Apple don't bake support for expandable storage and Super SIM cards on these devices would be completely useless.

Hence, Super SIM cards won't be a profitable idea anymore in a market like India. The eSIM technology has scope for helping phone makers increase space inside the device and that is something we would like to see on more phones in the months to come.

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