Vodacom has launched a new product that offers customers a master number to which they can connect other devices using linked Sims and embedded Sims, or eSims.
Called Vodacom OneNumber, the product allows customers to link multiple devices, including smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, laptop PCs and even connected cars, and keep them connected independently of their primary device.
All linked devices will consume data, SMS and voice bundles from the primary account. Up to eight devices can be linked to the primary number.
At the same time, the operator has partnered with Samsung to offer eSim support for OneNumber on selected smartwatches.
“The introduction of this technology to Vodacom customers comes after months of network testing to ensure customers experience superior quality performance, and forms part of the Vodacom OneNumber service,” said Jorge Mendes, chief officer of Vodacom’s consumer business unit.
The first wearables that will connect via eSim are the Samsung Galaxy LTE Watch 42mm and 46mm eSim variants.
Vodacom OneNumber allows “multi-ringing”, which means customers won’t have to carry all their devices at the same time and will still be able to take calls and access data on the go from their smartphone. The master device will, however, have to be switched on.
Only one number
“This is particularly useful for fitness enthusiasts who can now leave their handheld devices behind and remain connected to the Vodacom network using eSim-enabled wearables as they go about their fitness routine,” the company said in a statement.
Office workers can leave their phone on charge at their desk as they move from meeting to meeting — or go to lunch.
Customers will not need to advertise a second number, as their wearable or other device will ring even if they are not near their phone.The technology supports both Android and iOS. It’s only available to post-paid customers for now
The technology supports both Android and iOS. It’s only available to post-paid customers for now.
In theory, Vodacom customers will no longer need a physical Sim at all, provided all their devices — including their primary smartphone — support eSim functionality.
Is this the beginning of the end of physical Sim cards? “Yes and no,” said Mendes. Though it’s possible for users with high-end devices to ditch physical Sims, eSim technology will take time to filter down to lower-cost phones and wearables.
Vodacom will, however, actively encourage customers to use eSim technology instead of physical Sims.