Etisalat to launch e-SIM within six months
The days of "traditional" SIM cards may soon be over. Embedded cards, also known as e-SIM or electronic SIM, will be coming to a smartphone near you soon.

Rashed Majed Al Abbar, Vice-President for Consumer Product Innovation at etisalat, said users with e-SIM smartphones won't need to change the SIM cards when travelling to another country. Instead, the e-Sim will be able to interact with the foreign networks just as if they were "local".

"The move is part of GSMA and all telecom operators globally are part of it," he said. The GSM Association is an association of mobile operators and related companies.

Etisalat has been showcasing some of the e-SIM technology At Gitex this week on products such as smartphones, smartwatches, rings, bicycles and connected cars.

Al Abbar said the smartwatch with an e-SIM will work without a mobile phone and people can make a call from the watch directly.

E-SIM-enabled electric supercar
The telecom operator also showcased e-SIM-enabled rings, which has almost the same functionality as the watch, and also has a screen to read messages.

Etisalat is displaying the world’s first e-SIM-enabled electric supercar - Rimac - at its stand which will track all the details of the car and report problems directly to the dealer.

Depending on the car manufacturer and the market the manufacturer will be focusing on, like infotainment (live TV, video, search information and stream music) and navigation can be built on real-time data.

"The connected car solutions are accelerating and will close the technological gap before and currently between the home and the office, by ensuring fast internet access available in the car," he said.

Etisalat has tied up with Toyota to develop connected car technologies and applications to enhance the connected car ecosystem in UAE.

Instant messaging
All the new 2017 models of Toyota Land Cruiser, available exclusively on vehicles from Al-Futtaim Motors, will allow drivers to remotely lock or unlock their vehicles, control cooling and even instantly message the owner if the car is involved in a collision.

Etisalat is adding a 4G modem as an aftermarket solution to the car and can be controlled through an app.

Last year, etisalat teamed up with Nissan to offer the same feature on Nissan Maxima and Patrol models.

Al Abbar said that the technology will arrive within three to six months in the UAE.

Technologically, he said that etisalat is ready but "we are currently clearing some regulatory compliance." The standard for e-SIM was published at the GSMA 360 Series event taking place at Gitex, and etisalat is the first operator to display the technology in various products.

Factbox: E-Sim
"E-SIM" relates to a new standard being promoted by the GSMA, an association of mobile operators and telecom companies devoted to supporting the standardising, deployment and promotion of the GSM mobile phone system, as part of the Internet of Things era.

It will come embedded within the device and cannot be removed and the main advantage is that it will give consumers the option to switch provider and plan without having to request a brand new SIM card.

Apple released its own SIM card in 2014 and the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 tablets sold in the US and the UK are embedded with it, allowing customers to switch operators directly from the device.

The information on e-SIM will be compliant or rewritable by all operators and it will be completely standardised across manufacturers.

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