Revolut cements the eSIM trend. We’ll see a bow wave now.

The news that Revolut has launched an eSIM offer for its customers, made me say ‘wow’ out loud.

eSIM has been a huge talking point at MVNO conferences that I’ve chaired. Usually, the discussion has been related to predictions, and technology developments and adoption. But today’s move by Revolut makes it a leader of a trend we’ll see repeated.

Revolut is one of many brands who have seen the potential of eSIM and how it can be used to disrupt not just telecoms but its sector. Other recent brands targeting the traveller market include Easyjet and Uber. They are logical. Buy a ticket, buy an eSIM.

New MVNOs like Airalo (founded in Singapore but operating globally), Holafly (set up in Spain also operating globally) and Global Yo (headquartered in Mexico and combining entertainment too) are also in on the act.

But to see a bank take a slice of the action holds real power in terms of consumer value, and it is a true development in the market.

What’s happening, and why now?

Ultimately, these brands offer a cheaper and credible alternative to roaming with your existing mobile operator.

The idea of MVNOs providing roaming substitution is not new. The relatively high cost of roaming in 2012 meant that the GSMA singled it out as a key segment in its MVNO analysis.

A lot has changed since then, not least Brexit. When Roam like Home was introduced into Europe, into was to deal with bill shock and, as a result, the demand competitive roaming options all but disappeared.

Back then companies like truphone (now Global One and the company supplying the service to Revolut) invested significant sums, largely because it was a technically complex undertaking.

But now that technical challenge has gone. Firstly, voice and SMS for roaming are less of a ‘thing’, it’s all about the data and with the advent of OTT apps like WhatsApp and Facetime there really is no need to use your existing mobile number while roaming – people can contact you using data.

The second change is that eSIM is becoming far more prevalent.

That makes it much easier to add a data only eSIM (from one of the providers mentioned above) before you leave or when you land, or even while you’re in your Uber from the airport.

It’s simple, very cost effective and you can easily shop around for the best deal depending on which country you’re visiting.

Travel money with benefits

But what I find really interesting, is that Revolut is positioning this a benefit for its customers. And it is. It’s the killer combination of low cost and high value to the customer, making the decision to use Revolut for travel money a ‘no brainer’.

For a long time, I have theorised that industries like banking should put in place a discounted or free MVNO depending on how many banking products a customer has. It’s a useful and sticky benefit, not to mention it gives banks a route directly to the customer and probably helps with KYC and one-time passwords.

We have seen banking MVNOs spring up in Africa, a continent that boasts real leadership in ‘M money’. But not so much in Europe, and those that have launched, have always used it as a distribution-led offer, generally because they have an estate of banks.

However, today’s news shows the trend in eSIM is blowing this wide open for the digital innovators.

No surprises, but I am very excited about what we will see next. I predict a bow wave of partnerships and launches. What’s more, all this talk of eSIMs, almost makes me want to go on holiday!

If you need help bringing eSIM to market, developing your strategy and understanding how telecoms could help you monetise your existing customers, get in contact or send me a WhatsApp to +447799244962.

James Gray

About James Gray

James has over 20 years of experience working in the telecoms and retail industries. He is an expert in subscription-based business models, CRM, direct and indirect channel management and major proposition development and launches. He has held a number of Marketing Director and Consumer Director roles.