Industry Insights

August 24, 2016

eSIM: Standardization Is the Key for Interoperability

An interview with Jean Christophe Tisseuil, Head of SIM Technology and Arnaud Danree, Technical Product Manager, Connected Living Programme from the GSMA

The eSIM or eUICC is reshaping the mobile communications market. To ensure that this new business model provides the same level of interoperability and security as the current one, a lot standardization work has to be done. The GSMA is currently working on a specification for the eSIM on consumer devices, which is expected to be released in 2016. Jean-Christophe Tisseuil, Head of SIM Technology at GSMA and Arnaud Danree, Technical Product Manager of the GSMA Connected Living Program, explains the challenges the industry and the GSMA have to face.

First of all, could you explain why standardization is so important and what role the GSMA is playing?

Danree: Whenever we turn on a light switch, use the internet or drive a car we’re observing things that have all been standardized. In a similar way, the GSMA, while not standard’s body, has been working on a specification for SIM cards embedded in consumer devices that will reshape the mobile communications market.

Tisseuil: The GSMA’s role has been to unite all stakeholders behind interoperable global specifications that allow remote SIM provisioning of IoT devices and consumer devices to any mobile operator of their choosing. This will help to ensure market compatibility, interoperability and simplify product development plus accelerate time-to-market. These common standards will encourage:

  • Safety – Flexibility will allow SIM vendors to develop highly secure solutions equal or better to the traditional SIM.
  • Quality – Remote SIM Provisioning with an eSIM offers potential space saving and reliability as SIMs can be soldered, reducing the need for a mechanical SIM holder and providing the opportunity to develop a new range of products that can be connected to a mobile network.
  • Simplicity – Without the need to insert a SIM card changing your device is a simple process and the profile can be easily transferred online to a new device.


How will the standards help the ecosystem to grow?

Tisseuil: It is only through the use of standards that the requirements of interconnectivity and interoperability can be assured. It is only through the application of standards that the credibility of new products and new markets can be verified. In summary standards fuel the development and implementation of technologies that influence and transform the way we live, work and communicate whilst retaining freedom of choice for the user.

Danree: Remote SIM provisioning technology is expected to be broadly adopted in areas like connected car, smart metres, smart wearables, smart homes, smart buildings, logistics tracking and industrial IoT to address the increasing demands of IoT applications. We won’t see any massive scale up of usage unless the consumer is confident that connectivity is fully secure and their privacy is fully ensured. RSP and eSIM is vital key to being able to scale up deployments.

Tisseuil: Looking closer at the connected car opportunity. As IoT end-points expand, a “payment of things” will emerge, your car able to make payments. For example, your self-driving car will be able to pay for fuel from the dashboard. The impact of driverless cars will be huge.  In the US, where the average consumer spends one hour driving a day, an autonomous car will give people an extra hour a day for other things, and part of that will be consumption, which can add an additional 2 points to GDP growth.  A key element of this vision of the future is the GSMA IoT RSP Specification and the eSIM. Today many automobile manufacturers are taking the first connected car step by adopting this for their latest cars. 


Let’s have a brief look into the future. What do you think will come up next?

Danree: We believe with the support of over 88 major industry players now is the time for the eSIM to help change the mobile industry. It is an opportunity for the ecosystem to bring to market more innovated connected devices.

Tisseuil: Islands of IoT devices must be connected. Take todays connected car if you were unlucky to lose the key fob, in addition to the cost to replace, it is the wait to get hold of a replacement security chip and then there is the issue of pairing to the car locks. Car makers promote the key fob as a 'smart' security feature, but in today’s world replacement process can be far from 'smart. Why? Intelligent equipment doesn’t connect to each other. Today’s society expects the right service at the right time and right place, which creates value for them. They won’t pay a premium just to have ‘smart’ products unless they are really smart this is where mobile connectivity RSP and eSIM’s offering online key fobs can make getting an operational replacement as easy as it was for cars in the 1970’s but with the security we expect today.
Jean-Christophe Tisseuil

Jean-Christophe Tisseuil is Head of SIM at GSMA leading the Remote SIM Provisioning for Consumer Devices Programme. Previously Jean-Christophe was Vice President Strategy Telecoms at Morpho, e-Documents Division responsible for field marketing, innovation and M2M business development. Previously he was also responsible for Product strategy and marketing for SIM cards at Orange Group



Arnaud Danrée

Arnaud Danrée is leading the Embedded SIM project within the Connected Living Programme at the GSMA. Arnaud works closely with network operators and the wider M2M ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of the GSMA’s Remote SIM Provisioning technology. He oversees a number of industry focused initiatives designed to support the long term and sustained growth of embedded SIM technology for the IoT market.
Arnaud recently joined the GSMA in February 2016. Before joining the GSMA, Arnaud spend 15 years in the SIM vendor industry where he continuously led evolutions of the technology to enable more incremental services to network operators and the ecosystem. Arnaud has been involved from the beginning, of the Remote SIM Provisioning Project at GSMA.


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