eSIM

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An embedded-SIM (eSIM), or embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC), is a form of programmable SIM that is embedded directly into a device.

Overview[edit]

Rather than a physical SIM card that is manually inserted into a device an eSIM is permanently surface mounted to a mobile device at the factory. It improves reliability and network security, while also reducing space requirements, since a relatively bulky connector is not needed, increasing design flexibility.

An eSIM is typically provisioned remotely; end-users can add or remove operators without the need to physically swap a SIM from the device.[1] All eSIM's are programmed with a permanent eSIM ID (EID) at the factory[2]. This number is used by the provisioning service to associate the device with an existing carrier subscription as well as to negotiate a secure channel for programming.

eSIM is a global specification by the GSMA that enables remote SIM provisioning of any mobile device. GSMA defines eSIM as the SIM for the next generation of connected consumer devices. Networking solutions using eSIM technology can be widely applied to various Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios, including connected cars (smart rearview mirrors, on-board diagnostics (OBD), vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots), artificial intelligence translators, MiFi devices, smart earphones, smart metering, GPS tracking units, DTU, bike-sharing, advertising players, video surveillance devices, etc.

eSIM uses the same electrical interface as a physical SIM as defined in ISO/IEC 7816. Once a carrier profile has been installed on an eSIM it operates the same as a physical SIM, complete with a unique ICCID and network authentication key generated by the carrier.

The physical form factor of an eSIM chip is commonly designated MFF2.[3]

History[edit]

Since 2010, the GSMA had been discussing the possibility of a software-based SIM.[4]

While Motorola noted that eUICC is geared at industrial devices, Apple "disagreed that there is any statement forbidding the use of an embedded UICC in a consumer product.". Currently the GSMA maintains two different versions of the standard, one for consumer devices[5] and another for M2M devices[6].

A first version of the standard was published in March 2016, followed by a second version in November 2016.

In 2016, the Samsung Gear S2 Classic 3G smartwatch was the first device to implement an eSIM.[7]

In 2017, during Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm introduced a technical solution, with a live demonstration, within its Snapdragon hardware chip associated with related software (secured Java applications).

Implementations[edit]

Devices[edit]

The European Commission selected in 2012[8] the embedded UICC format for its in-vehicle emergency call service, known as eCall. All new car models in the EU must have one by 2018 to instantly connect the car to emergency services in case of an accident.

Russia has a similar plan with the GLONASS (national satellite positioning system) called ERA-GLONASS.[9]

Singapore is seeking public opinions on introducing eSIM as a new standard, as more compatible devices enter the market.[10]

Apple implemented eSIM support in its Apple Watch Series 3 and later,[11][12] in addition to every iPad released since the iPad Pro (3rd generation). Apple also included eSIM support with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, and later featuring Dual SIM. eSIM support on iPhone requires iOS 12.1 or later. eSIM on iPhone is not offered in China mainland. In Hong Kong and Macao, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone SE (2nd generation), and iPhone XS feature eSIM.[13][14]

Google unveiled the Pixel 2 in October 2017, which added eSIM support for use with its Google Fi service.[15] In 2018, Google released the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL and subsequently in May 2019, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, with eSIM support for carriers other than Google Fi.[16][17][18] In October that same year, Google released the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL with eSIM support.

Motorola released the 2020 version of the Motorola Razr, a foldable smartphone that has no physical SIM slot since it only supports eSIM.

Plintron implemented the eSIM4Things Internet of things product, based on eSIM support for the devices and available in 28 countries.[19]

Microsoft introduced eSIM to the Windows 10 operating system in 2018[20] and launched its first eSIM-enabled device, Surface Pro LTE, in 2017.[21]

Samsung shipped Galaxy S21 and S20 series smartphones with eSIM hardware onboard but no software support out of the box. The feature was later enabled with the One UI version 4 update [22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "eUICC – The Future for SIM Technology". PodM2M. 2019-07-05.
  2. ^ "SGP.29 v1.0 EID Definition and Assignment Process". eSIM (in American English). Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  3. ^ "Clearing up the term "eSIM"". Hologram (in American English). Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  4. ^ Diana ben-Aaron (2010-11-18). "GSMA Explores Software-Based Replacement for Mobile SIM Cards". Bloomberg. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  5. ^ "eSIM Consumer Specifications". eSIM (in American English). Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  6. ^ "eSIM for M2M". eSIM (in American English). Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  7. ^ Vincent, James. "Samsung's Gear S2 has the first certified eSIM that lets you choose carriers". The Verge. Vox Media, LLC. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  8. ^ Ziegler, Chris (2012-06-01). "Embedded SIMs: they're happening, and Apple thinks they could be in consumer products". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 2014-10-25.
  9. ^ Bruno, Duarte (2014-09-27). "eUICC – embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card". Coswitched.com. Archived from the original on 2015-07-19. Retrieved 2014-10-25.
  10. ^ "Switch mobile operator without changing SIM cards? IMDA wants feedback on eSIM tech". CNA. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  11. ^ Evans, Jonny. "Apple Watch Series 4: A review". Computerworld. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  12. ^ Martin, Jim. "Until now, all iPhones have been single SIM, but with eSIM you can have two phone numbers". Macworld UK (in British English). Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  13. ^ "Which iPhone models have eSIM support?". eSIM Reviews. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  14. ^ Eathon, Leticia. "iPhone 12 eSIM Feature Review". Phone Bot. Willa E. Gose. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  15. ^ "Google's Pixel 2 phones are the first to use built-in eSIM technology". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  16. ^ "Set up and manage eSIM - Google Fi Help". support.google.com. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  17. ^ "Google Pixel 3a hands-on: a cheaper Pixel with stunning camera". xda-developers (in American English). 2019-05-07. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  18. ^ Wiggers, Kyle (2019-05-07). "Google unveils the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL". VentureBeat.
  19. ^ "eSIM for Internet Of Things: A review". telecompaper. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  20. ^ "Use an eSIM to get a cellular data connection on your Windows 10 PC". Retrieved 2019-12-24.
  21. ^ Warren, Tom (2017-10-31). "Microsoft's Surface Pro with LTE launches on December 1st". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  22. ^ "One UI 4 (Android 12) brings eSIM support to US Galaxy S21 devices". Android Central. 2021-11-16. Retrieved 2022-01-22.

External links[edit]