Dubai: The new iPhone models – iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max - to be launched on September 21 in the UAE will not support eSIM (embedded SIM) in the near future.

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows users to activate a cellular plan from a carrier without having to use a physical SIM.

“We are working with Apple to make it [eSIM] available to customers in the near future,” Etisalat said in a statement.

Du said in a statement that eSIM handsets will not be available on their network in the UAE.

Du told Gulf News in July that they were investing in the necessary infrastructure to roll out e-SIM enabled products in the UAE. It did not specify a date.

The operator said it had been actively working with the TRA, GSMA [a trade group that represents network operators using GSM technology] and technology partners to bring the technology to its customers.

According to Apple’s website, countries such as Austria, Hungary, Canada, India, Croatia, Spain, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Germany and the US support the eSIM facility.

“eSIM will be available later this year through a software update. Use of eSIM requires a wireless service plan (which may include restrictions on switching service providers and roaming, even after contract expiration). Not all carriers support eSIM. Use of eSIM in iPhone may be disabled when purchased from some carriers,” the Apple website said.

The SIM card on a phone allows a mobile operator to identify and authenticate a consumer, which in turn gives the consumer access to the mobile network to for calls and data.

Sukhdev Singh, executive director of market research and advisory firm Kantar TNS, told Gulf News that Apple provides the eSIM technology and ultimately it is the telecom operator who has to provide the connectivity part.

“With eSIM, users don’t need to change the SIM cards when travelling to another country. Switching between operators will be easy. They will be able to connect to operators’ networks in the same way they now choose WiFi networks and also when roaming,” he said.

He added that eSIM is a very new technology, only a couple of devices support it and it hasn’t gained traction.

“People still have the habit of carrying dual SIM phones or dual smartphones. It will take time for people to get a hook on to it but the future is eSIM for connected devices such as internet of things and machine to machine,” he said.

The Apple Watch Series 3 had eSIM support in the UAE, supported by Etisalat. The operator also offers the eSIM service on select cars such as Toyota and Nissan for connectivity.