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Three UK Preparing to Launch Apple Watch and eSIM in Q2 2022

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022 (10:18 am) - Score 15,576

Mobile operator Three UK has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that, after years of waiting and more than a few false starts (here), they will finally aim to launch eSIM support for 4G and 5G devices during Q2 2022, starting with the Apple Watch during the same period (other handsets will follow).

Just to recap. At present, most of us tend to switch mobiles by using a physical SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card, which you insert into a handset – this contains a tiny chip that authenticates your identity to a mobile operator. Such cards can also store a basic list of your contacts, although online contact lists have largely superseded that feature on modern devices.

However, a growing number of new Smartphones, and also Smartwatches (wearables), are now shipping with eSIM as an option, which essentially embeds an electronic SIM into your device and that could – once fully implemented – make it easier and quicker to switch between networks, among other things.

Last year the operator informed us that eSIM support would “likely” get out of the starting block sometime in 2022, yet, after years of disappointment, many consumers will have rightly opted to greet this statement with a strong air of scepticism. But recently we, alongside some of our readers (credits Sam and Ivan), were able to spot the arrival of a stand for Apple Watches in a few of their retail stores.

The manager at one of those retail stores allegedly indicated to our readers that the Apple Watch would be launched from April 2022 on Three UK, although we were unable to confirm such a specific date ourselves. But the arrival of the Apple Watch is also interesting for another reason, since it tends to come alongside the addition of eSIM support.

A Spokesperson for Three UK told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We can confirm that both eSIM support and the Apple Watch are due to launch on the Three network soon.”

Sadly, the word “soon” has been used before by Three UK to describe past launch plans for eSIM and the Apple Watch, which often didn’t materialise. After highlighting this, the operator was kind enough to say that both would launch during “Q2 2022“, which seems reasonable given the statements being made by staff in their retail stores.

Rival operators including O2 (VMO2), Vodafone and EE (BT) have had eSIM support for a while, albeit coming alongside varying different levels of support (e.g. it’s sometimes only enabled for selected devices). We wouldn’t be surprised if there were some caveats to Three UK’s implementation too.

UPDATE 11:18am

Just to clarify. Three UK has informed us that eSIM support will be specific to their Apple Watches at launch. Support for other mobile handsets will apparently take a “little longer” to arrive, although we don’t know how much longer.

Leave a Comment
28 Responses
  1. Smythe says:

    Good news for Three customers! At long last!

    1. Almacd says:

      Good news for users of apple products maybe, for those of us not totally locked into the apple ecosystem it’s a non event.

  2. Gregowski says:

    I had a problem with eSIM on Vodafone as my phone could not use WiFi-Calling and as soon as i switched back to standard SIM problem was gone.

  3. Edward Hunter says:

    Great news finally, the option has now appeared iunded mobile data in the Watch app, but it ask you to come back! Hopefully soon!

  4. Graeme says:

    Hopefully cost information follows, although I’m somewhat sceptical it will come!

    1. Ali says:

      There should be no additional cost as an esim should use your existing contract

  5. Tech3475 says:

    Would be nice if Three turned on the mast down the road from me they installed last year, they told me ten years ago they’d improve the signal where i live ‘in a few years’.

  6. Graham says:

    I will hold my breath I been hanging on for ages on their promise it was coming. Have jumped ship to Vodafone who actually have rolled it out other than empty promises from three

  7. Jonathan Clamp says:

    Rasclat Three has been promising services for years and always last to the table. Where is visual voicemail?

  8. Sean Starkie says:

    Any update???

  9. Jon Watts says:

    Just wait for Apple to announce when Three starts supporting eSim. Right now it doesn’t.


  10. amy harth says:

    They will delay until 2023

  11. Nopey McNopeface says:

    Was told today in store that June 10 will be the date

    1. Amy says:

      Could they be lying?

  12. Sean says:

    Three Chat Support told me to “go to store, they can enable today.”

    Store told me the announcement came through to them this morning. iPhone users will get a text message when the service is available. We will be able to order an eSIM online but we will need to visit the store to pick/set it up.

    No date given, just “very soon, matter of days/weeks”.

    1. amy harth says:

      called the stores and they don’t have esim yet. Not sure what you were told.

    2. Sean says:

      Just activated Cellular on my Apple Watch without visiting a store, like I was told we would need to do. Didn’t receive a Text message either.

      A painfully clear and concise experience…

  13. Andrew Denton says:

    I called into store today and was advised they do not have any e sims or any way to process them yet.
    He did say however that they had a briefing this week to advise they will be ranging the Apple Watch soon, he could not provide any dates.

  14. Manny kushbin says:

    See it was all just a lie

    1. sean starkie says:

      If you go to activate cellular on Apple Watch from the iPhone “watch” app… you now get a page saying coming soon and it’s branded with the three logo. This is a recent development in the last month or so. So something is happening

  15. sean starkie says:

    Around 12th to 15th may, Three uk added Apple Watch under smartwatches on their shop tab on their website. The link goes to a 404 Error for now but it shows something is happening

    1. Manny kushbin says:

      What about the support for iPhone?

  16. Andrew Denton says:

    Looks like it’s live now
    Just set it up in my watch app .
    It’s £7 per month and free for six months.

    1. Paul says:

      Can’t see it on the site, is there a link?

    2. Sean says:

      Yep. Done through the watch app on iPhone. My contract was up in 8 days and i literally just priced up a new plan with EE on their website ready to switch next week so i guess i wont need to now. 6 months free too!

  17. Sean says:

    Checked this last night and ling had been removed completely…. Today its back and live https://www.three.co.uk/smartwatches/apple-watch

  18. Kushbin manny says:

    When is the support for iPhone coming?

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