The new tech that will let you swap mobile carriers in an instant


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The ability to instantly switch mobile phone networks anywhere in the world is fast approaching reality. And there's every chance it will reduce your mobile bill.

Smart phones, watches and tablets built with new eSIM technology allow you to switch mobile networks at any time with the scan of a QR code. It also means you can effectively run two mobile numbers from the same device and in any country that supports eSIM (Apple has a useful online list of global eSIM carriers).

An eSIM will reduce your bill

e-sim travel change networks

One of the major pluses of eSIM is that you have the ability to choose from multiple mobile plans and price points (provided you're not locked in a contract). This works in several scenarios.

Boost Mobile founder and chief executive Peter Adderton says consumers can choose whether they want to pay for faster network speed, better coverage or bigger data limits - or a combination of the three - and an eSIM would help them better determine the best carrier and price for their needs.

An obvious eSIM split is a business and personal plan; or one plan for calls and one for data. You could also think about splitting your eSIM between a regular post-paid plan and a pre-paid one for children (if they don't use a mobile regularly or aren't old enough to own one). Any of these options and others could work out cheaper if you sought the best deals.

Having more options and competition at your fingertips could also mean pre-paid and post-paid mobile plans continue to drop in price as well as change the way you buy these services.

Adderton, in Australia recently to celebrate Boost Mobile's 20th birthday, says that in the next five years it is possible that consumers won't be buying their mobile and data services from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone - rather it will be from Amazon, Google or Netflix.

He also envisages that eSIM services going mainstream would enable mobile carriers to visit schools and workplaces and offer bulk discounts - say one month of free data, for example.

Changing international connectivity  

eSIM technology also has the potential to change the way international roaming works, possibly seeing its end, Adderton says.

You will be able to fly into any international airport, access your in-flight magazine and scan the QR code for your mobile network of choice. It will "allow you to have connectivity anywhere in the world."

"These days of roaming is useless. What we're planning to do globally is connect into the cloud and [be accessible] across the world and do deals with the [international] carriers for the same price," Adderton says.

"Say you're on a $50 plan, it won't matter. It will be the same in Europe as you are here."

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Darren Snyder was the managing editor of Money magazine from March 2019 to November 2020. Prior to that he was editor of Financial Standard.

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