The classic plastic SIM card has become smaller and smaller in recent years. By introducing the “half SIM” in 2019, we are making an additional contribution to waste prevention, with SIM holders being halved in size. In the first year after its introduction, we were already able to reduce plastic waste in Germany by 21 metric tons. Another contribution to resource conservation is the “eSIM”: This card is permanently installed in many new devices and replaces the classic plastic SIM card. The eSIM profile is transmitted electronically. It contains all the important data for accessing the Deutsche Telekom mobile network.
In 2020, we conducted a first detailed analysis of the ecological impact of the technological switch to an eSIM card, looking at the entire value chain associated with SIM cards. The most important lever is, of course, the elimination of material consumption and production activities for the physical card. But there are also other positive environmental effects. Above all, these include the elimination of logistics services, related correspondence, and disposal services. The transition to an eSIM card therefore has a clear, positive impact on SDGs 12 and 13; in addition, it also impacts the sub-goals of SDGs 3, 6, 8, 9, 14, and 15. Similar to the impact measurement for “Online billing”, there are potential negative effects on jobs and revenue in production, the wood and paper industry, and the logistics sector.