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
The #Krack attack that puts billions of devices at risk highlights a flaw in the creation of the Wi-Fi standard: https://t.co/3RbiAW7Th2
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Congratulations @AnthonyVollmer. https://t.co/uBYiXwLAwF
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Most memorable preso at Qualcomm 4G/5G event was @BT / @EE’s dancing MD (IT & Mobile), Fotis Karonis. Bullish goal… https://t.co/WT45rxO61S
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
#IoT This is interesting: Apple partnership with GE for Predix. https://t.co/gyCCtjGitR. But an SDK per IoT platfor… https://t.co/JMy3vALaIs
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Samsung partnering with Google on ARCore makes sense. Samsung changing though - 3 yrs ago it would have sought to d… https://t.co/oKgDrjPQV0
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
5G subscriptions will reach 1 billion in 2023. Our new 5G forecast for the ambitiously long period of 2018-2025:… https://t.co/lykFFxl8Sr
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
Sorry to hear MobileIron's @bmainz has left. EMM is rapidly reshaping. Tough out there for a specialist, public firm https://t.co/tWiEj06djI
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Spoilt for choice, what a line up; @ChampionsLeague goals show or #CHEROM live in #UHD #4K & #DolbyAtmos on BT Spor… https://t.co/5uqH3KbuGx
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
Voda UK to launch novel PAYG concept. Spend limited to £1/day, but unlimited voice/SMS and 500MB of data thereafter. Aim to mitigate worry.
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
Hands on with the new Ricoh Theta V! 4K video is the highlight of the V - I'm hoping to see an improvement in the p… https://t.co/kd0vGEXHBd
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @benwood: Big news from Samsung overnight. Despite strong profits CEO resigns. Cites concerns over future challenges. https://t.co/bqI1…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
RT @TheBMA: Two junior doctors were left looking after more than 400 patients during very unsafe shift at stretched hospital https://t.co/q…
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
The Wi-Fi Krack Security Vulnerability Highlights a Flaw in the Standard's C... Read more
Blog Post
Game On in Smartphone Market Will There Be Demand for Razer's Gaming Smartphone? Razer, ... Read more
Blog Post
Google Touts Gigabit LTE Advantage Aims to Enhance Android Experience on High-Tier Phones It's... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
CCS Insight Predicts 1 Billion Users of 5G by 2023, with More Than Half in China 5G to take off faster than any previous mobile technology ... Read more
More news