Your future SIM card could be directly integrated into the phone’s processor
Vodafone, Qualcomm and Thales have successfully conducted a trial of iSIM technology, which could pave the way for more devices to be connected and operated by mobile networks in the future. Connecting to a cellular network traditionally required the use of a physical SIM card, and any network change required a SIM swap. Software-based eSIMs combine the features and capabilities of a SIM card with the ability to switch providers remotely, enabling consumers to make more informed decisions, enabling new service models and providing manufacturers with greater design flexibility.
For example, space previously occupied by a SIM chip could be used for a larger battery in a smartphone. “iSIM solutions offer great opportunities for MNOs, free up valuable device space for OEMs, and provide device users with the flexibility to benefit from the full potential of 5G networks and experiences across a wide range of device categories. ‘devices,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president, Europe/MEA, Qualcomm Europe. “Some of the areas that will benefit the most from iSIM technology include smartphones, mobile PCs, VR/XR headsets and industrial IoT. By integrating iSIM technology into the SoC, we are able to create additional support for OEMs in our Snapdragon platform.
eSIMs are also transforming the economics of mass IoT deployments that rely on sensors left untouched for up to ten years. However, eSIMs still require a dedicated processor and therefore require physical space on the device and system resources to function. An iSIM offers the same benefits as an eSIM, but is directly integrated into a device’s main processor, alongside other core capabilities such as the CPU and GPU. Carriers can still provision iSIMs remotely using existing eSIM infrastructure, but manufacturers and customers have greater freedom over the size and type of device they can connect to the cellular infrastructure.
This latest proof of concept adhered to GSMA specifications and was staged in one of Samsung’s European research and development (R&D) facilities using Vodafone’s network and remote management platform. The device in question was a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G powered by a Snapdragon 888 5G mobile platform and Thales iSIM operating system. All parties involved say its success demonstrates the commercial maturity of the technology and infrastructure needed to support it.
Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro’s resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of UK and global news, from carriers to service providers and everything in between. He is a former Silicon UK editor and journalist with over a decade of experience in the tech industry, writing about technology, particularly telecommunications, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and the media.
“Our goal is to create a world where every device connects seamlessly and easily with each other, and where the customer has full control,” said Alex Froment-Curtil, chief commercial officer of Vodafone. “iSIM, together with our remote management platform, is a major step in this direction, allowing devices to be connected without a physical SIM card or dedicated chip, making connectivity to many objects – the promise of the world Connected IoT – a reality. This will allow our customers to enjoy the ease of multiple accounts on a single device, while, from an operator perspective, help eliminate the need for separate SIM cards and the extra plastic this consumes.
Summary of news:
- Your future SIM card could be directly integrated into the phone’s processor
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