Hey folks. Thanks for the additional information about the motivations for using 3rd party SIMs. I think that I can address some of the open questions and concerns around the E Series and the choice to use an embedded SIM with that hardware.
At the present time, there are two kinds of SIM cards that are widely available:
- 4FF "Nano" SIMs (plastic)
- Solderable, "embedded" SIMs
There is a tradeoff here between flexibility and reliability. With a Nano SIM, you can swap carriers simply by exchanging one SIM card for another in the included SIM card slot. However, the modular nature of this design can result in poor connections between the SIM and the pins of the connector due to poor mechanical fit, corrosion, vibration, etc. We don't believe that this is the most reliable design choice for products at scale.
Embedded SIMs address the problem by being physically soldered to the PCB like any other electrical component. What you lose, however, is the flexibility of being able to swap one carrier for another on the fly.
There is a third, new kind of SIM specification which you cite above which is commonly referred to as eSIM that allows for the dynamic reprovisioning of embedded SIMs on the fly between cellular carriers. One thing to make very clear – eSIM, although it is very exciting, requires that each carrier build and integrate software that allows eSIM compatible SIMs to be dynamically provisioned into their database and billing plans. Very, very few major carriers have support for eSIM as of today, and it is unlikely that eSIM will achieve any kind of critical mass for widespread IoT adoption for potentially 1-2 more years. Like for LTE M1/NB1 which is just hitting mass market availability, marketing language is typically ~2 years ahead of commercial viability in the cellular industry.
We are really excited about eSIM, and plan to take advantage of the flexibility it affords to our customers as a primary feature of our cellular platform in the future. However, it's not an option that we can provide today.
However, what we can do today is negotiate contracts with new carriers to add support to our MVNO service for enterprise customers who have requirements around particular carriers. We're also able to offer pooled and larger MB plans for enterprise customers. Pricing decreases as you scale the size of your deployment and per device consumption. If you have questions about the present and future flexibility of our MVNO or hardware, I strongly encourage you to drop a note to our helpful sales team, who can give clear and honest feedback about cellular networks and pricing we can and cannot support.
Hope this post was helpful! Let me know if you have any follow-up questions.