An embedded SIM made by M2M supplier Eseye

Mobile operators embrace embedded SIM specification

A host of mobile operators will support the GSMA’s embedded SIM specification to help boost adoption of Internet of Things technology.

The specification describes a non-removable SIM that is embedded in connected devices at the point of manufacture and allows remote provisioning over the network, thereby removing the need to replace SIM cards if the manufacturer or user decides to switch networks.

At the Mobile 360 Series-Middle East conference in Dubai, the trade body announced that operators AT&T, Etisalat, NTT DOCOMO, Telefónica and Vodafone Group alongside manufacturers Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Morpho (Safran), Oberthur Technologies, Sierra Wireless and Telit have all launched compliant solutions. Ericsson, Jasper and Telenor Connexion have also committed to future roll-outs of the specification.

“Our vision has always been to unite all stakeholders behind a single, common and global specification that will help accelerate the growing machine-to-machine (M2M) market. It has also been our intention for the GSMA embedded SIM specification to become the de facto industry standard,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA.

“Industry-wide adoption sets us on the path for the long-term growth and development of the industry and we welcome the news that the M2M community is ready to do business using the specification.”

An independent study by IoT specialists Beecham Research, timed to coincide with the announcement, estimates that the uplift in the installed base of connected devices by 2020 as a result of using the specification as opposed to proprietary embedded SIM solutions could be up to 34 per cent.

“This is a conservative view,” said Saverio Romeo, principal analyst at Beecham Research. “In practice, this is great for the auto industry and is likely to lead to faster growth, not only for new sales but for the secondhand market as well. We also think it will drive a lot of new sales internationally in the consumer electronics market and lead to more elegant product designs.”

Senior representatives from the auto, consumer electronics, smart metering and other key industries were interviewed for the study together with mobile network operators, SIM vendors and M2M hardware vendors.

“The availability of the GSMA embedded SIM specification is a big deal for the connected devices market,” said Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of Beecham Research. “This is targeted primarily at the OEM community to make it easier and more streamlined both to build cellular connectivity into their products and to sell them through many more channels to market.

“It also considerably opens up the secondhand market in cars and other products for continued use of support services by second and subsequent owners.”

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