Nonpayment and deactivating eSIMs

Developing an IOT device in for a startup business model where users pay a subscription fee to keep the device active. In the event of non-payment from end users I do not want to keep paying for an inactive SIM and would like to deactivate the device.

There appear to be no good ways for deactivating through the API (best I can do is to script deactivation emails on a trigger after a few months of nonpayment), and reactivating a device with a new SIM would be a pain as well (removing the device to install a new SIM requires the sensors in the hardware to be recalibrated by a trained professional).

With an eSIM would it be possible to avoid these pitfalls? Is there any helpful information on how to achieve this?

It sounds more like what you want is to suspend the sim (or pause as we label it in the dashboard) which would stop all data transmissions to the device. You could unpause the SIM whenever which will not require you swap out the physical SIM card.

I don’t believe an eSIM would solve this as the SIM still needs to be able to transfer data in order to load in new connection profiles and an eSIM still needs an active bootstrap profile to facilitate this which if deactivated would likely require a SIM swap as well.

Ideally you would change the plan to the lowest monthly renewal cost and then pause it for your delinquent users.

Thanks for the info. My understanding is that pausing still incurs maintenance fees and would eventually need to lead to deactivation (perhaps after 6 months) to avoid zombie expenses.

I don’t believe an eSIM would solve this as the SIM still needs to be able to transfer data in order to load in new connection profiles

I hoped this wouldn’t be a concern for my application as there’s other ways to transfer data in (a USB port and bluetooth). I haven’t used an eSIM before, and hoped it would be possible to load a profile this way, sounds like the answer is no.

That is true, pausing does incur maintenance fees. It would certainly be something you would have to weigh as the cost of paying for a paused SIM vs deactivating and then replacing the SIM in the device at a later date.

I can tell you that this is almost universally the former with our clients, we even have others who do something similar to what you propose where they pay for higher data plans when they know their sims will be active and using data and then change plans to a cheaper monthly renewal cost and pause it when it is not in use.

I am not an expert in eSIM but you should probably read this blog post we wrote: https://hologram.io/blog/clearing-up-the-term-esim/

I think what you were imagining is an iUICC which is covered in that blog post but I can tell you that is years away from being a reality.

Given that you need a trained professional to recalibrate the device after switching out a SIM it sounds like paying ~1$ a month would require the SIM to be suspended for quite awhile before the costs would be anywhere close to the cost of replacing a deactived SIM. There are definitely ways of saving costs on SIMs you know wont be active for a given billing period but I hope this helped clear things up a bit.

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