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 e-SIM 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 e-SIM 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 e-SIM 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 e-SIM 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 e-SIM development. This is causing a certain level of anxiety among wireless operators concerned about customers switching providers. Although this isn't guaranteed, e-SIMs 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: e-SIM 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 e-SIM 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 or you can leave a response.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On March 17th, 2017


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Despite only having a sliver of the US market, @comcast's Xfinity Mobile service delivered a noteworthy performance… https://t.co/0TctMBICl2
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Want to know what will be the big news at Mobile World Congress 2018? Be sure to follow our analysts at the event a… https://t.co/XvoeGWcT0U
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Coolpad expanding into wearables in US market. Initially kid watches but more products planned after that. Be inter… https://t.co/gjSIa8zITf
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
@Arm launches Kigen family to provide eUICC integrated SIM and ID server for the cellular #IoT world. If we're head… https://t.co/shNCZD21vf
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @nickmcquire: Remember China’s State Council $150BN “New Generation #AI Development Plan” launched in July? Well, it’s advancing... FAST…
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
@geoffblaber Technology can be used in a good way or in a bad way. The question is: who decided what is good and what is bad.
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
RBS hires “digital human” Cora on probation > Another #IBMWatson banking customer with big plans to automate ~50% o… https://t.co/Cj4n69w359
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Another punchy Sky Mobile bundle including Sony Xperia XA2 & PlayStation 4 for £25/month (and Gran Turismo Sport) https://t.co/AYE1ZBF5Ch
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
O2 UK follows Vodafone in launching data roll-over on PAYG. Follows tariff refresh earlier this year in face of str… https://t.co/0y50x6pirr
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
Nokia doesn’t "see a path" for its Digital Health business. Very sad development for Withings team who make excelle… https://t.co/BmIEdkg6xM
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @CCSInsight: Optimization for artificial intelligence defines competitiveness in mobile chipsets in 2019 and beyond #ccspredicts https:/…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
Synthetic biology: Strange medicine https://t.co/OorKQv5nFi via @TheEconomist
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
The First Million Is Always the Hardest Xfinity Mobile Joins the Big Four Carriers in Net Additions ... Read more
Blog Post
Intel's Push to the Edge Xeon D-2100 Brings Data Processing to the Network Edge Inte... Read more
Blog Post
Smart Building Market Gathers Pace in Europe New Forecast Expects Sales of Smart Systems to Triple by 202... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
CCS Insight Forecast Predicts Apple Watch and Hearables to Fuel Growth in Wearables Research firm CCS Insight forecasts 71 million smartwatc... Read more
More news