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A little-known fact is that a Thales eSE and eSIM combined chip is inside all of the Samsung Galaxy S20-series. That makes these the most secure NFC/contactless payment smartphones on the planet.

The Thales eSE and eSIM is one more reason why GadgetGuy said in its Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (review here and 4.7/5), “It is the best Google Android smartphone you can get in 2020.”

Not to get too techy but Thales Group is a French multinational company. It designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets. High security is its business.

Samsung Australia did not make a big thing at the Galaxy S20-series release about the Thales eSE and eSIM security.

It prefers to cite its Samsung Knox as the panacea. And to a large extent, it is.

“Every Knox device is built from the hardware chip up to isolate, encrypt, and secure your data. This includes confidential files, credit card transactions, passwords, and health data – so you can protect everything you care about.”

But when you add Thales eSE and eSIM to the equation, it adds a certain peace of mind.

Thales says:

“The Samsung Galaxy S20-series is the first and only device on the market to feature Thales’ technological breakthrough. It is the world’s first smartphone featuring a secure single-chip solution to support both mobile connectivity and trusted contactless services. The use of this innovative connected eSE/eSIM offers new possibilities for the next generation of consumer devices for a wide range of NFC services, including secure payments or transport ticketing.”

OK, what does a combined Thales eSE and eSIM mean in simple English?

An eSE (embedded secure element) is a tamper-proof chip. It stores data in a secure place only available to ‘authorised’ people or apps.

That includes payment, couponing, transport, access control, ticketing, tokens, corporate, cloud computing, biometrics, and e-government.

It has certification as compliant with the GlobalPlatform Card Secure Element Configuration standard. It is certified by major payment schemes (EMVCo, Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, China UnionPay, MTPS and contactless certifications organisations (FeLiCa, MiFare).

The eSE is part of the Thales eSIM product.

An eSIM (GadgetGuy’s take on embedded SIM) is a ‘subscriber identity module’. It acts as an electronic SIM to link the phones IMEI to a carrier network.

Thales eSE and eSIM

Devices with an eSIM include:

  • Apple’s iPad Pro, Apple Watch (3, 4, 5), iPhone (XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro, Pro Max)
  • Google’s Pixel 2, 3, 3 XL, 4 & 4 XL versions)
  • Motorola Razr
  • Some Windows 10 always-connected PCs.
  • Samsung Galaxy S20-series, Galaxy Fold and Flip and later Galaxy watches (Thales solution)

Thales (formerly Gemalto) is the only company with full certification with live operation for all eSIM solutions on all carriers.

Thales eSE and eSIM
Thales eSE and eSIM

Bottom line – you will hear much more about the Thales eSE and eSIM solution.