The journey for eSIM has been in motion since 2016 and the last several years have seen earlier adopters – largely in the consumer space with smartphones and connected vehicles, but also in IoT applications – achieve success in global, future-proofed connectivity.
The next decade, which began in 2020, will likely see a large swing toward widespread eSIM adoption, with GSMA Intelligence anticipating a threefold increase within the decade. It’s time to stop discussing eSIM as a concept, and now is the time to talk about whether eSIM is right for your business application and, if so, how to apply it. One way to start is by taking an eSIM Readiness Assessment to determine whether this technology can amplify or streamline your IoT solutions.
Choosing an eSIM is getting more challenging as this technology proliferates the market, however, because other technologies might tout similar benefits of eSIM, without actually being an eUICC technology.
GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has developed specifications that ensure interoperability and security of eSIM devices. Businesses and enterprises can use these technologies with confidence.
eSIM specification: The eSIM specification has been adopted by the global industry as a de facto standard for remote service provisioning (RSP) of eSIM-21 connected devices. The specification, known as GSMA Embedded SIM specification SGP.02, was developed by GSMA specifically for M2M eSIM implementations. It makes it possible to provision and manage eSIMs in remote devices by pushing a new profile to the devices over the air (OTA). It also allows provisioning a subscription and changing from one operator to another. Because the mechanism is standardised, it ensures eSIM devices will interoperate on different networks. Standardisation also helps build economies of scale, which drives down cost.
Security specification: A GSMA security specification, used in conjunction with eSIM, provides a zero-touch mechanism to onboard a device easily and quickly with a high level of security. The specification, called IoT SIM Applet for Secure End-to-End Communication (IoT SAFE), employs the eSIM not only for network authentication, but also for device authentication to any cloud. IoT SAFE is not hackable because it uses the eSIM as a hardware secure element, protecting sensitive assets (keys) inside the eSIM, not the device. The embedded security and easy onboarding are also highly beneficial because they help companies streamline provisioning high volumes of devices for IoT applications.
The ability to support Multi-IMSI, which allows for multiple carrier profiles on a single SIM, is also a hallmark ability of a true eSIM. Other comparable technologies – like a software SIM – cannot hold up to the same resiliency as a Multi-IMSI, eUICC eSIM.
Once an eSIM technology has been determined and chosen, there are a variety of tools that supports its deployment and management. A connectivity management platform is essential for activating and provisioning eSIMs, and a particularly robust platform can also support ordering of eSIMs, for a single pane of glass approach.
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