Carrefour taps BICS to launch eSIM travel data

France-based Carrefour is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world, and expanding its lines way beyond the shelves in its stores, the multinational retail corporation has announced a partnership with international communications enabler BICS to launch a travel embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM) offering via its mobile operator arm.

With a multi-format network of over 14,000 stores in more than 40 countries, the Carrefour Group posted sales of €90.8bn in 2022 through an integrated store network that employs more than 335,000 people. In total, more than 500,000 people work under Carrefour banners worldwide.

Delivered alongside BICS, the eSIM offering is designed to make it easier and cheaper for customers to use their phone abroad. The retailer assured that instead of running the risk of high rates and “bill shock” due to limited visibility over data usage, Carrefour’s prepaid eSIMs are self-managed and self-controlled.

Before traveling internationally, mobile users with compatible phones can purchase a pre-paid eSIM, offering a more affordable option than traditional roaming rates, depending on the operator.

Connectivity specialist BICS is providing the eSIM and coverage around the world via its roaming network. Downloaded via a QR code, the travel eSIMs will allow users to connect directly to the network they’re visiting at a fraction of the cost of normal roaming.

With the European summer holiday season just around the corner, Carrefour noted that while operators in the EU offer mobile roaming in France at the same price as domestic mobile data, operators from elsewhere, now including most UK operators except O2, carry roaming charges.

As the launch was being made, BICS noted that around 2012, eSIMs have been experiencing fast adoption due to the release of more eSIM-compatible smartphones, and increased consumer awareness of eSIMs and associated services. It emphasised that the release of the eSIM-only iPhone 14 was a notable step forward in both.

According to data from global mobile trade associate the GSMA, Europe has the second-fastest rate of smartphone eSIM adoption behind North America, with more than half of European smartphone connections expected to use eSIM by the end of 2027.

“eSIMs are an exciting advancement for global connectivity,” said Jorn Vercamert, vice-president of customer solutions and products at BICS. “Consumers have yet to realise the benefits of eSIMs, but with products like this from Carrefour, that will quickly change. The eSIM digitalises connectivity, making it available with just a few clicks. BICS is making it easy for enterprise and consumer brands to integrate global connectivity into their offerings to improve the digital experience of their end-users.” 

The Carrefour announcement comes hot on the heels of BICS signing a deal with recently rebranded software-as-a-service customer engagement company Kaisa, making it one of the primary providers of internet-based voice calls for the software-as-a-service platform as it looks to consolidate and expand across Europe.

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