It is the very first time that Apple has launched the Cellular version or the LTE version of its Apple Watch Series 3 in India. The two service providers which would facilitate the working of the cellular Apple watch in India would be Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. However, it wasn’t long before that Reliance Jio filed a complaint with DoT alleging that Bharti Airtel had violated the Unified License condition as it had no infrastructure in place for the purpose of pairing the network with the Apple Watch in India.
What is an e-SIM?
This new technology which Apple has introduced globally and in India is drastically different from the previous versions of the Apple Watch, since this time the Watch is going to be able to function independently from the phone. The Apple Watch will have access to the network of the telecom operator as a means of an extension of your phone number. Once paired with the network, the watch will be independently able to make calls, use data for streaming music, calling an Uber or Ola and it will do all this without tethering to the iPhone like it was mandatory before.
This new technology which the Apple Watch makes use of is based on the e-SIM. Unlike the usual SIM which the smartphones or mobile phones use, the e-SIM is not something which the users will be able to swap or change. The built-in antenna on the Watch will use Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) radio to connect with the network and will store the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) which will route and divert the call to the Watch in case the phone of the user is unreachable.
No Additional Charges for Using the Service in India
There’s one benefit to the Indian users of the Apple Watch as they will not have to pay separately for this service. Unlike in the US or other countries where the users of Apple Watch are required to pay a separate fee to the telco for subscribing to an Apple Watch Plan, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are providing this service as a part of existing plans with no extra fee. Also, it should be kept in mind that Apple Watches are bound geographically which means that a watch bought in the USA might not work in India.
This is not the first time that people will handle the e-SIM technology, previously Samsung made use of the e-SIM in their Gear S2 3G. Apple’s iPad Pro models also use a similar Apple SIM to support local networks without the use of an actual SIM.
No Regulatory Issues
Previously, companies who had been working in the SIM virtualisation industry were sceptical to enter the Indian market since the Indian telecom regulations dictated that any SIM which was not tied to an identifiable user was illegal. Therefore, until now, there hadn’t been any specific policy on the e-SIM. However, with Apple’s technology, the regulators will not have to worry as the e-SIM comes paired with the International Mobile Subscriber Identity which will make the user of the watch and the respective phone and number, identifiable.