Big Change in a Tiny Package

Embedded SIM Technology Could Start with Windows


Embedded SIM cards could enable a new generation of cellular-connected hardware, and alter the general chemistry of the relationship between operators and subscribers. At least in theory, reprogrammable embedded SIM cards would enable wireless customers to shift between rival service providers, although contracts and equipment instalment plans could complicate this.

At present, there are few real eSIM devices beyond machine-to-machine implementations, some variants of Apple's iPad Pro and a few smartwatches. Smartphone makers, waiting for the completed standard from the GSMA, will certainly introduce eSIM devices in upcoming iterations, but for now it seems that Windows notebooks or two-in-ones could be the opening act for the technology.

Earlier this month, SIM card provider Oberthur Technologies revealed a standardised eSIM solution for Windows 10 machines. Gemalto, the leading provider of SIM cards, has also teamed up with Microsoft to bring embedded SIM technology to Windows 10. In 2016, Microsoft announced that its platform would provide native support for the eSIM specification. The move would open the possibility for Microsoft and its partners to sell airtime through their own channel. One scenario here would be for intercontinental business travellers to stay connected across countries without concern for roaming costs. Apple has had some success in this space through its efforts with Apple SIM and the embedded solution offered in some iPads. However, for users, the process still involves switching from provider to provider to get the best local deal.

Standardisation of embedded SIMs is going through a series of phases within the GSMA. The specification has recently completed the second phase and the third is expected later in 2017, meaning that more consumer electronics will be built with an embedded SIM, which, over time, will support remote provisioning.

It appears that beyond machine-to-machine and IoT implementations, smartphones are the core part of the eSIM development. This is causing a certain level of anxiety among wireless operators concerned about customers switching providers. Although this isn't guaranteed, eSIMs increase the risk of a spike in subscriber churn. Operators will have to create strategies to maintain customer loyalty. In Europe, the ever-looming abolition of roaming charges will certainly go some way to mitigating some of the risk. However, for some players this is an alarming scenario that will potentially give customers greater freedom to move between networks and endanger the traditional direct relationship they have had.

One thing seems certain: eSIM smartphones will eventually become the norm as hardware makers adapt the latest specifications and begin to test designs with operators worldwide. The enabling components are now coming to market, albeit with devices other than phones leading the charge. As this technology evolves it seems eSIM has the potential to make a big difference to market dynamics.

This entry was posted on March 17th, 2017 and is filed under Devices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On March 17th, 2017


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Xiaomi resists the market trends of bigger phone screens and smaller bezels with its new Mi 6 flagship handset: https://t.co/w4oYNPd2yO
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @kestermann: Orange the latest telco to launch personal assistant. CEO @srichard introduces and demonstrates #Djingo on stage. #ShowHello
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @nickmcquire: Half of UK workers "relaxed" and positive on #workplace #AI as a means to improve jobs, creativity & flexibility https://t…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
@amazon launches DIY subscriptions service marketplace - interesting move with high potential for disruption. https://t.co/o6WxjfpYjv
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @Mikel_Jollett: TRUMP: The protesters are paid. These marches are small. Well, here's Chicago today: https://t.co/iyfVfmFy8O
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
@nickmcquire @benwood @facebook @geoffblaber @martin_garner @shauncollins @George_CCS Don't judge too fast, dummy t… https://t.co/eokzYz2EdN
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
Half of UK workers "relaxed" and positive on #workplace #AI as a means to improve jobs, creativity & flexibility https://t.co/E9kduUhFxL
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
#NABShow: Time for ShowStoppers. One of my highlights of any show https://t.co/myJSTCSEJ1
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
Just published – latest @CCSInsight Hotline provides an in-depth assessment of progress, achievements and challenge… https://t.co/oTpd8PLpg9
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
RT @benwood: Huge potential for VR beyond games. Smart move by @unity3d to move in this direction. https://t.co/OZSuFtG0M0
Follow George
Katie Taylor
Working on a new study on @SketchBookPro with the @AdonitNews Jot Touch stylus https://t.co/4m2Q9v0eUl
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Miles of Light Verizon to Buy Miles of Fibre for Fixed-Line and Wireless Se... Read more
Blog Post
Xiaomi Didn't Get the Big Device Memo Reveals Its New Mi 6 Flagship Phone On Wednesday at an even... Read more
Blog Post
Facing Reality Will Users Take to Facebook's New Dual Realities? For Faceb... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Sales of 5G Smartphones to Hit 100 Million in 2021 Over 10 billion mobile phones to be shipped in the next five... Read more
More news