Time to get into the nitty-gritty of a budding new technology! Ah yes, the eSIM. Just a quick precursor to what's up ahead, we here at eConnect have already written an exposé, running you through the basics of eSIM and how you can get your hands on it in Japan. So I would advise you check that article out as well if you would like some more in-depth knowledge of the qualities this new contender brings to the tech arena. But first, let's bring those of you who may not know back up to speed.
Wait, what on earth is an eSIM?
If you are one of the people asking yourself this question, you're not alone. eSIM or "embedded SIM", simply put, is a tiny chip built into your device (typically a smartphone), that functions the same way as a regular SIM card... but here's where the likeness ends. Unlike their physical SIM card counterparts, if your device has an eSIM built in, you don't have to change the actual SIM card in order to switch between carriers. You just have to download a so-called Profile from internet to use a new carrier.
This is a huge deal because, as many of our readers know from experience, having to buy and set up a SIM card in a foreign country can be a real pain in the butt! This new technology makes having to buy a physical SIM card to put in your phone a thing on the past.
But how's the network coverage?
This is the question that's got people hollering in the streets. How is the coverage? In Japan, the three main network providers are Docomo, KDDI (au), and SoftBank. If you are using eSIM in Japan, regardless of the service provider, you will be connecting to one of these three local networks. This is actually great news because all three of these carriers have more than 99% coverage of the population in Japan. For an eSIM user, this means exactly the same coverage as someone with a physical SIM card. There is literally no difference between the two besides one being virtual.
eSIM in Japan VS. America
America is similar to Japan in the sense that it also has 3 major players when it comes to network providers. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-mobile. However, there is a stark difference in the coverage area between networks. It is well known that T-Mobile's coverage is very spotty and consumers regularly experience connectivity issues in some areas. As a result of this coverage difference, if you are using an eSIM that is connected to T-Mobile, you may not have the best coverage.
Now if you compare this to Japan, whose three major network providers all boast over 99% coverage in populated areas, no matter what eSIM device you are using, you will be guaranteed excellent coverage!
In the next couple of years, you can expect to see a sharp uptick in the number of service providers, like eConnect Japan, that will be offering eSIM connectivity service across the globe. But regardless of coverage in other countries, you can be certain of one thing, if you are using eSIM in Japan, your coverage will be near perfect. And the reason behind this is simple. It's because you will be connected to one of the three largest networks, that all have more than 99% coverage, which means so will your device.
Safe travels and enjoy your adventure!