Africell launches e-SIM service in Sierra Leone
Published on 3rd October 2019
Telecommunications services provider Africell has launched an e-SIM service in Sierra Leone.
The company began operations in the country in 2005 and has announced that with the embedded e-SIM service, subscribers can connect to a network by scanning a QR code with e-SIM compatible devices.
Subscribers can use a regular physical SIM card and an e-SIM card simultaneously, and/or switch to a new operator seamlessly without having to insert a specific SIM card. This is because compatible devices can store multiple e-SIMs at the same time.
Additionally, when travelling across borders, an e-SIM makes it easier for a user to switch to a local network - since there is no need to remove a physical SIM card - particularly if they are going to spend more time in the destination.
Experts say the advantages could take time to materialise within Sierra Leone's mobile market, believed to be home to approximately 5.8 million users.
Andreas Fink, whose Ethereum-based company, Cajutel recently secured a license to build a network of solar-powered internet transmitters to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to Sierra Leone, said:
"Well, changing one SIM card with another can be easier because you basically can have many e-SIMs on the phone but only one active. As far as e-SIM goes, this is nice to have but it's not really rocket science. Not much is changing for normal end users. It's vital for IOT though," adding that it may be some time before IOT plays a meaningful role in the country.
One of the challenges to the new system is the limited volume, availability and cost of e-SIM compatible phones such as Apple iPhone series, Ipad Pro and Android devices.