Bridge Alliance, a leading mobile alliance covering 34 countries in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, today announced a collaboration with China Unicom and Singtel to enable enterprise customers of both companies to perform embedded SIM (eSIM) changes over-the-air (OTA) without having to manually configure their devices’ SIM cards to change networks in either China or Singapore.
The collaboration is the first between two Bridge Alliance members/partners and follows a successful eSIM swap trial in early April 2020 where China Unicom managed to swap its eSIM profiles to Singtel’s using Bridge Alliance’s technical and commercial capabilities. Under the collaboration, devices that are equipped with China Unicom eSIMs will automatically switch their profiles to Singtel’s when they are brought into Singapore. The devices’ embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC) will also download and activate Singtel’s profiles through a GSMA-compliant subscription-manager platform.
Ms Ong Geok Chwee, CEO of Bridge Alliance said, “We are excited that under the new collaboration, mobile customers can extend their reach with the premier member operators across the Asia Pacific region while being enabled with multi-domestic connectivity, economies of scale and logistical efficiency. Together, we can help Chinese companies accelerate Internet of Things (IoT) deployment in Southeast Asia, simplify business negotiations through Bridge Alliance’s framework agreement, to bring market advantages so Chinese companies can land across the region.”
The collaboration leverages Bridge Alliance’s current strategic IoT partnership with China Unicom and paves the way for Singtel to play a key role in facilitating cross-border IoT connectivity across China and Singapore.
“IoT deployments are rapidly growing across industries and markets as enterprises digitalise processes to become more agile and efficient. This collaboration with Bridge Alliance will help drive more seamless connectivity and broader IoT adoption, and augment Singtel’s IoT ecosystem of partners, enhancing our ability to support China Unicom’s and other Chinese enterprises’ rollout of IoT devices in Singapore and the region. By leveraging our extensive, secure IoT connectivity services, enterprises can have greater control over mission-critical operations in real-time and increase business productivity,” said Mr Dennis Wong, Vice President, Enterprise Mobility Product & Platform of Singtel Group Enterprise.
With more IoT devices being built with eSIMs and cross-border eSIM swap collaborations being arranged, switching cellular networks abroad becomes easier. This enables enterprises operating across the Asia Pacific region to enjoy local data SIM rates rather than being charged roaming rates, making it more cost effective to roll out IoT across the region.
“This is an exciting international collaboration we are embarking on. China Unicom will develop overseas markets with our partners such as Bridge Alliance and Singtel and provide top level services to our customers,” said Mr He Fei, Assistant General Manager, China Unicom IoT Company.
A study by Markets and Markets reported that the global eSIM market would grow at a compound annual growth rate of 31% between 2018 and 2023 to reach 1.168 billion units valued at US$978 million.