A guide to the eUICC (eSIM) in large-scale IoT deployments

Anyone planning their IoT strategy today faces many technology-related decisions which will impact the long-term success of a product deployment. If, how, and when to adopt eUICC technology is one of these crucial choices.

eUICC, or eSIM as it is sometimes referred to, has been around for a number of years, but standardization has now reached a point at which the eUICC is suitable for large-scale M2M deployments. However, the technology is still in an early stage of implementation, which means that deployments of eUICC-based solutions come with considerable complexity.

This paper will serve as a guide to making informed decisions about the eUICC. Over the coming pages we will examine the potential benefits of the eUICC and explore the challenges involved in adopting this technology.

Whitepaper: Understanding the eUICC (eSIM)

Unsure what the difference is between eSIM and eUICC? Where can it be used? And are there any benefits? Download Telenor Connexion’s white paper to answer these questions and more about the technology.

Topics covered in the white paper:

  • Evolution of the M2M SIM
  • Benefits and opportunities of M2M eUICC
  • Why deploy the eUICC as a managed service?
  • M2M SIMS operational challenges
  • How to reduce the complexity of eUICC deployment and management
  • IoT eUICC Managed Services from Telenor Connexion

Introduction

Anyone planning their IoT strategy today faces many technology-related decisions which will impact the long-term success of a product deployment. If, how, and when to adopt eUICC technology is one of these crucial choices.

With a history that goes back twenty years, Telenor Connexion have witnessed and stimulated a number of technological shifts in M2M and the Internet of Things. We hope sharing our insights into today’s technological and market trends will help you succeed with IoT in the long term.

WHAT IS THE M2M eUICC? SOME USEFUL DEFINITIONS

eSIM VS eUICC – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

eSIM and eUICC are often used seemingly interchangeably, even though there is a difference between the two: the eSIM is the hardware component of the SIM and a physical form that can be soldered into a solution. The eUICC is the software component that allows the remote SIM provisioning of multiple network profiles.

UICC:

The hardware used in mobile devices that contains SIM and/or USIM applications enabling access to GSM, UMTS/3G and LTE networks.

SIM:

Subscriber Identity Module. Refers to the data containing a unique identifier which is stored on a UICC.

SIM CARD:

The common name for the plastic card which holds a UICC.

eUICC:

Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card.

eSIM:

Embedded Subscriber Identity Module — Embedded SIM is — a UICC that supports “over-the-air” provisioning of an initial operator subscription and the subsequent change of subscription from one operator to another in accordance with the GSMA Embedded SIM specification. Use of the GSMA Embedded SIM specification simplifies industrial and logistic processes for the distribution of M2M equipment.

GSMA:

A trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide. The GSMA includes around 800 mobile operators as full members and an additional 300 companies as associate members.

M2M AND IOT:

The terms machine to machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) refer to connecting machines/things to the internet or closed networks to enable new services or process efficiency. While IoT is often used as a broader term than M2M, in this paper we will use the two terms interchangeably.

WHAT IS EMBEDDED? – UNDERSTANDING THE eUICC

The eSIM originally referred to a SIM card with a form factor suitable for soldering it into a device. In this paper the term eUICC will refer to a SIM card supporting “over the air” provisioning independently of the form factor.

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EVOLUTION OF THE M2M SIM

Since the 1990’s, businesses have been connecting machines through mobile networks. This is commonly known as M2M connectivity. Similar to SIM cards used in mobile phones, the form and functionality of M2M SIM cards has evolved along with market demands.

A UICC and eUICC can come in multiple form-factors:

  • 2FF, 3FF, 4FF – Plastic SIM cards of different shape and form
  • MFF2 – SIM card suitable for soldering into a device.

CONNECTING TO MOBILE NETWORKS

A connected “thing” is identified on the mobile network by the subscriber identity stored in its SIM card. The identity defines which connectivity service provider is being used. Based on a commercial agreement with the owner of the machine, the service provider defines which network services are available and delivers those services using a combination of their own and sub-contracted mobile networks.

M2M SIMS OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES

Historically, SIM cards could hold just one subscriber identity linked to a single service provider. One service provider can still provide access to several networks through roaming, but in order to switch service providers, the SIM card needed to be physically changed to a new SIM card with a different subscriber identity.

Physically exchanging SIM cards creates complexity for companies managing large fleets of devices, especially for international deployments, or if the SIM card is not easily accessible. For example, if a company wants to permanently deploy devices in markets where permanent roaming is prohibited by regulation, such as in China and Brazil, that company will need multiple connectivity service providers. This means SIM cards from multiple service providers need to be managed in the supply chain.

Another example of inefficiency can be found when a business wants to switch service providers when the existing contract expires. This might become costly, depending on how easy it is to physically access the SIM card in the already deployed fleet of machines.

 

Read the whole story and download the white paper.

 

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Whitepaper: Understanding the eUICC (eSIM)

Unsure what the difference is between eSIM and eUICC? Where can it be used? And are there any benefits? Download Telenor Connexion’s white paper to answer these questions and more about the technology.