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First steps are taken to regulate the eSIM innovation in Lithuania

Date

2021 06 30

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After the Government has approved the draft of the Law on Electronic Communications (LEC) and other relevant legislative acts submitted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, steps have been taken to make Lithuania one of the first countries in the European Union (EU) to regulate and give the right for service users to receive public communications services via embedded subscriber identification modules (eSIM).

“If the LEC amendments are adopted, Lithuania would be one of the first countries in the European Union to regulate this innovation starting 2023. We currently link our mobile phones to mobile network operators via SIM cards. With this innovative eSIM technology, all kinds of devices, including mobile phones, will be unlinked from SIM cards and there will be no need to replace the SIM card when changing the operator,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis.

If the Seimas approves these LEC provisions, Lithuania would become one of the first countries in the EU as well as in the whole world to legally ensure this innovative and future-oriented function to all users, which is changing the network operator remotely without replacing the SIM card.  

The regulation of the eSIM innovation in Lithuania will facilitate the emergence of smart cities, development and application of the Internet of Things and 5G, it will also allow delivering more effective services in the sectors of logistics, transport, energy, financial services, environment, healthcare, etc.

The implementation of the eSIM technology is particularly important to the energy sector, which has an abundance of smart monitoring devices. The use of eSIM in smart monitoring devices will reduce the service costs for such devices. This technology can be installed in many elements of logistics – containers, vehicles, sensors in logistic centres or even the products transported. 

The eSIM technology can be widely used in the environment sector as well – with the aid of this innovative technology, special indoor, outdoor or underwater devices would gather, analyse and efficiently provide data on air and water quality.

The public sector is currently obliged to change the communication service provider every three years, and if a different service provider wins the tender, all SIM cards must be replaced. This generates large expenditure of the taxpayer money. If eSIM is implemented, changing the service provider will be easier and require less expenditure, this will increase competition and allow to decrease service costs. The regulation of eSIM will pave the way for innovations in Lithuania – it will facilitate the emergence of new services and providers in the market.

On the initiative of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, having received budget allocation, the Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT) and the winner of the tender Ernst & Young Baltic are preparing a model to promote the use of eSIM in Lithuania, which will be based on a comprehensive analysis of international practice and current situation. It is planned to prepare this study by December. 

Conventional SIM cards have been in use for more than 25 years, since the mobile network was launched, and SIM cards must be physically replaced to change the service provider. Once eSIM starts operating, replacing the SIM card will be one of the things we will forget in the future when the new LEC comes into force. 

In view of the tendencies of technological development, the eSIM innovation would be implemented starting 2023 if the Seimas approves the LEC amendments.