MTN South Africa is now offering an eSIM functionality to all prepaid customers on the network. The feature has been available to contract customers since 2019. The announcement for prepaid comes two months after Vodacom introduced eSIM for prepaid in June this year.

The network said in a release that its eSIM, a digital version of a physical SIM is now available to all customers for a range of devices.

Just like Vodacom, MTN customers need to go physically into an MTN store to activate it. According to the MTN Morningside branch in Sandton, it is free for prepaid customers to switch to an eSIM (compatible phones listed below).

MTN says features for its eSIM is as follows:

  • Multiple eSIMs on one device: Prepaid customers can have multiple eSIMs on their smartphones enabling effortless switching between their cellphone numbers.
  • Enhanced Convenience: The elimination of physical SIM cards means no more fumbling with sim cards or the risk of losing them. Customers can easily switch between devices and activate their eSIM profile with just a few simple steps.
  • Global Roaming: MTN’s eSIM functionality enables easy access to local networks while travelling abroad. Customers can enjoy hassle-free roaming experiences without the need to purchase physical SIM cards or change numbers. Allowing international tourists to activate their eSIM-enabled devices on our network seamlessly.
  • Security: The eSIM technology will continue to provide secure, identifiable, and authenticated access to our mobile network.

Interesting to note is that eSIM, despite being a software, requires hardware support on each smartphone. Current smartphones in SA that support eSIM are iPhone 11 upwards, Samsung Z Series, Samsung Galaxy S20 upwards, Huawei Mate 40 and P40 upwards and the Oppo Find N2 Flip.

The new mid-range Honor 90 that releases on 1 September will offer eSIM support. Check out Nafisa Akabor’s review of the Honor 90 here.

It would be interesting to see why both Vodacom and MTN have introduced eSIM support in 2023, ahead of the new iPhone 15 being announced in September next month. The iPhone 14 in the US was released as an eSIM-only version smartphone. Given the timing, is Apple calling the shots here?