Author: Leonid Markovich, Marketing Director, A1 Systems
Consumer eSIM evolution
Stabilization of eSIM for smartphones
eSIM for smartphones is now a stable technology actively used for more than three years by almost two hundred operators worldwide. We do not anticipate any pivotal changes in the smartphone eSIM technology. The key modifications will pertain to new services and adaptation of operator’s business processes.
Changings of business processes
More and more operators will automate their handling of eSIM profiles. Already now all eSIM solutions provide for on-the-fly generation and installation of individual profiles at the operator’s command via a standard ES2+ interface. Far from all operators ready to use this feature, though, as it calls for changes in familiar business processes, modifying of OSS/BSS and the development of profile distribution systems.
Mastering new ways of online and offline distribution
Many eSIM solutions now have single QR code functionality. Same single code can repeatedly be used by different users who get different profiles. This opens up new opportunities for operators in offline and online distribution of contracts. The customer journey from advertising to subscriber onboarding decreasing to a couple of clicks in his/her smartphone.
Applet solutions on the march
The eSIM chip is a much more functional device than a conventional SIM card. It has large flash- and RAM memory, along with a built-in cryptographic accelerator. Plus, for the profiles installation the smartphone uses a faster and more secure IP connection instead of slow and unreliable SMS. Combination of these features will facilitate the evolution of existing SIM services as well as the emergence of new ones.
Multi IMSI solutions won’t lose their relevance. They will become more accurate as they benefit from a fast, reliable and secure connection to the server for updating their applet settings on the eSIM chip.
Mobile Connect solutions are elevated to the next level, as a mobile authentication applet with PKI-based e-signature option can be installed on every eSIM smartphone, something not possible with a conventional SIM card.
The mobile e-signature will get a further boost with the advent of laptops having a built-in eSIM chip. Such laptops will not only have a high-speed 4G or 5G connection. They can also be furnished with a special eSIM applet that will come in handy enabling strict authentication in online services and electronic signature.
Reviewing the trend of eSIM development for smartphones and other devices, we’d like to share our belief that the key breakthroughs will come down to a deeper integration of technology into operators’ business processes, to an increase in the number and variety of user equipment, and the emergence of new eSIM-based services.
M2M eSIM evolution
M2M eSIM on the way to a unified approach
While eSIM technology was mainly devised for the IoT, it stalls a little on this market compared to smartphone market. This is due to a greater complexity of the M2M eSIM architecture and a large number of stakeholders who have to forge technical interconnection, enter in a new commercial agreement and altering their internal business processes and systems.
Development of independent cloud services
The complexity of interoperability for all players is driving the development of independent cloud services that will simplify the interoperability and enable easy single-point control of profiles of all operators. Over time, such cloud services, aside from connectivity management, will be enriched with profiles purchasing, IoT SAFE data protection, centralized data collection and pre-processing functions.
Impact of Private LTE
eSIM technology is important for Private LTE development, given that the use of conventional SIMs in those networks is not only inconvenient in many cases, but often impossible as well. Therefore, soon we’ll see the adaptation of existing eSIM control systems to private networks along with the rise of new eSIM services and solutions for this market.
Development of stand-alone RSP solutions
The booming private network market will fuel the development of stand-alone RSP solutions. They will be fully compatible with GSMA specifications but geared more towards the specifics of a particular business for which a private network is deployed.
IoT data protection
The M2M eSIM chip, just like the smartphone’s eSIM chip, has a cryptographic accelerator. This feature will further boost IoT SAFE data protection solutions. The eSIM chip can be used to generate keys, protect or sign data, remaining an easy and inexpensive solution.
New opportunities for transport industry
The transport industry starts tapping into eSIM: from an internet-enabled head unit to the ecosystem of connected vehicles. With the implementing of eSIM, fleet management systems gain seamless connectivity in roaming and local markets. eSIM breaks new ground in connectivity for aviation, especially when coupled with 5G technology.
In our opinion, the iSIM technology whereby an eSIM chip is physically integrated into another chip thus becoming part of the System-On-a-Chip, will take on greater significance for IoT in the near future. The iSIM technology evolution will propel an even wider proliferation of IoT devices, boosting their performance and security.
In conclusion we predict that the main trends in M2M eSIM evolution will be: 1 – simplifying of interaction between all stakeholders due to cloud services, 2 – drift towards iSIM and 3 – the rise of specialized services and solutions for private networks.