So what is an eSIM?
Another Number, eSIM or Dual SIM? Until recently the only way that you could have a separate work and personal mobile number in the UK was to use two separate devices (a popular choice as over 14 million of us carry two mobile phones), or use a Dual SIM phone.
Although popular in Asia, the limited choice of Dual SIM phones in the UK has led to relatively low adoption. So we launched Another Number, offering a second number for work on your personal device, working on any network alongside your personal number.
We must be onto something as on September 12th came the announcement from Apple about the iPhone XS, iPhone MS Max and iPhone XR complete with Dual-SIM card support through eSIM technology. With our own customers asking about how it works, it seems like a good time to compare what both eSIM and Another Number have to offer.
Another Number or an iPhone with eSIM technology?
|eSIM Technology||Another Number|
|Can I start using it today?||Yes, eSIM is available in the UK on EE.||Yes! Available on iPhone for Individuals and Teams and just for for Teams on Android (although you can sign up as a ‘team of one’).|
|Can I use the service on any device?||At this point, only on an iPhone XS, iPhone MS Max and iPhone XR.||On any UK iPhone or Android device.
|Can I use it on any network?||eSIM is only currently available on EE.|
eSIM technology requires a primary number and a secondary eSIM number. The eSIM must be an EE monthly contract but the main number can be on any network and even PAYG.
|Another Number works on any UK network.
|Does my phone need to be unlocked?||If your main contract is on another network your phone will need to be unlocked to add the eSIM on EE, which usually means buying your phone outright or waiting 6 months into your contract for it to be unlocked.||No not at all, Another Number requires no changes to be made to your device other than downloading the app.|
|Will I be tied into a long-term contract?||The eSIM will require a monthly contract but the physical SIM could be on a PAYG plan on any network if your iPhone is unlocked.||Another Number is a monthly subscription and you can give notice at any time for the subscription to end before the next billing period.
|Can I port an existing number into the service?||If you have an existing EE number you can request for it to be moved onto an eSIM.||Yes, we are able to port your existing work number into Another Number.|
|Can I use it to get cheaper calls abroad?||Yes, if your phone is unlocked you could use use a SIM from a local carrier alongside your EE eSIM.||Our international call rates are very competitive and we are adding more regions. Get in touch if you'd like to request specific countries.|
|Will the service on my main number be affected?||Adding a second carrier to your iPhone may affect the service of your main carrier. ||Not at all. Another Number uses your main carrier but will not affect the service of your main number.|
|Can I use VoIP and my mobile network?||The second (eSIM) number will offer calls over the mobile network and standard text messaging. iMessage and FaceTime will only be available on your main, or primary number as Apple call it.||You can choose whether to make and receive calls over the mobile network, mobile data or WiFi, depending on where you are and how good your coverage is.
Calls and messages to other Another Number users can be made for free using VoIP and IMs.
|Can I see which number is ringing?||Yes this is clearly displayed for both.||Yes, calls via Another Number are clearly labelled.|
|Can I separate out my work and personal communications?||All communication will appear in the same view - your work and personal text messages and your call history.||Yes, your work calls and messages will be stored in the app and personal communication in your main phone and messages views.|
|How do I ensure I call from the correct number? I.e. only call work contacts from my second number?||When you add a contact to your iPhone, you can select which number is used with that contact, if not it will default to your primary number.||All calls made from the app will be from your Another Number - that means you will only call work contacts from your work number.
|What happens if I miss a work call whilst on a personal call?||Your work call will go to voicemail (as long as you have your carrier voicemail setup) but you won’t receive a missed call notification.||Your work call will come through and you can decided to hold your current call and accept or send to voicemail - if a voicemail is left it will be transcribed.|
|Are my work and personal contacts kept separate?||Both work and personal contacts will all appear in your main contacts list.||Your work contacts will be stored in the app and the personal contacts are stored in your main phone contacts.
Also you will find the contact details of your fellow team members pre-populated in the app.
|Can my business pay for my work number?||Yes if they manage your eSIM contract or reimburse you each month if you pay for it yourself.||Yes, the business purchases, owns and manages the number via our Team Portal.|
|How does this work with BYOD?||You can add an eSIM, second contract for work to your personal device to keep work and personal communications separate if you have an iPhone XS, iPhone MS Max and iPhone XR.|
The business will own and retain the number if they pay for the eSIM contract. Or you can pay for it yourself and retain the number as long as you maintain the contract.
|The business invites you to their team, you download the app on an iPhone or Android device and you can use the number as long you are with the business. Once you leave, your number can be re-assigned to a colleague.|
|Are there any business features built in?||No specific business functionality mentioned yet.||Another Number has been designed for business users so offers visual voicemail with transcription, 'do not disturb' setting for when you are not working, auto,automated greeting for missed calls and text messages, broadcast messages to your entire team and group chat is on the way.|
|Are there any GDPR implications?||There may be as work and personal contacts will be in one view/area of the device as work and personal contacts and communication should be kept separate. |
If the business owns the second number they can keep it if an employee leaves.
|If used correctly, there should be no work contacts outside of Another Number which is in line with GDPR best practice.
The business can revoke access to the app if an employee leaves the business.
So, in short, what Apple is offering with the eSIM is a great concept, makes life easier and will hopefully reduce the number of second devices in the UK. However, we’d love you to try Another Number if you’d like avoid long-term contracts and want to get setup today.
Also it would be great to hear from you if you’re already using an eSIM and think we have missed anything!