eSIM, The Biometric Opportunity


eSIM, KYC, and digital onboarding are trending topics in the most popular publications regarding telecommunications and especially all those related to Mobile services, operators, and especially mobile solutions suppliers.

It is not new, that for the last few years, eSIM technology has been seen by MVNOs as an enormous opportunity to access travelers and roamers traffic, not accessible for a “standard” MVNO without any roaming in agreements. The possibility to buy remotely a SIM before visiting a foreign country, with simplified logistics processes to deliver the SIM, facilitates acquiring temporal subscribers and increases the business. This is very relevant in those countries with a high rate of visitors.

According to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism was stronger than expected with over 900 million tourists travelling internationally, and expectations for 2023 are much bigger recovering pre-COVID figures.

For all those potential subscribers with short stays, prepaid subscriptions would be the ideal service to get access to usual services such as mobile data and in some lower extend voice and messaging.

All elements above are the perfect combination to justify local MVNOs in those visited countries to present a purely digital experience, with a “zero-touch” onboarding based on remote provisioning capabilities, lack of personal contact, and very simple experience.

Nowadays is not easy to find MVNOs using eSIM, even the biggest world wide’s MVNOs unfortunately do not offer eSIM at the moment, or if promoted no clear paths to get them, which suggests that the opportunity for eSIM-related solution vendors, including not only the eSIM middleware and profiles, but also BSS elements like CRM, point of sales, etc, and of course all KYC (Know Your Customer) solutions including biometrics for digital onboarding is huge.

The challenge arises with registration requirements, and mainly with the proof of identity step. According to the GSMA “Access to Mobile Services and Proof of Identity 2021” report, the number of countries where mandatory pre-paid SIM registration policies are in place increased from 155 to 157 in 2021.

This enforcement is because many governments perceive this policy as an important way to address national security concerns.

MVNOs need to find the perfect combination among their BSS solutions (CRM, provisioning, etc), KYC applications, and regulators' requirements to solve these key business issues. It is at this point that biometric software suppliers play a key role to get eSIM advantages.

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