With the introduction of the eUICC and the rise of the Internet of Things, the industry has reached a major turning point. For decades, the SIM life cycle in telecom was shaped by an ecosystem with fixed roles and established processes. During the manufacturing process, the SIM was personalized by the SIM card manufacturer with the required MNO-specific user profile. Once activated in the field, whether it was part of a mobile phone or an M2M device, the SIM was limited to be used with only one MNO. In case of a provider change, the obsolete SIM was thrown away and exchanged by a new one. With the introduction of the eUICC, this old model is history.
Reshuffling the Cards
Yes, the “cards” are being reshuffled – really in the truest sense of the term! As the new SIM is embedded, the provider cannot be changed anymore by swapping the card itself. This fact implicates new challenges for all players of the ecosystem. New players enter the game. The roles of all parties and the responsibilities involved are undergoing a change.
Figure1: SIM World
The new SIM life cycle again starts with the (e)SIM manufacturer. However, the vendor loads only a basic personalization profile onto the SIM, with the big difference that the actual personalization is performed once the device with the embedded SIM is already out in the field. Besides the traditional MNOs, new potential players from the M2M realm like connected car manufacturers, OEMs, and IoT solution providers buy and integrate (e)SIMs into their products. These new players have to make sure that all interoperates properly. This is especially important as the (e)SIM cannot be accessed anymore after the soldering process. Built into a car, for example, it has to function over the whole life time of the vehicle. That means, as troubleshooting is not possible, it is very important to do it right from the start – in order to prevent costly product recalls. Extensive integration and interoperability tests are the base for this.
Figure 2: eSIM World
Working Remotely – the Next Challenge
Once soldered, the eSIM can only be managed and provisioned remotely. As there are so many components involved in this process, like the eUICC, mobile device, mobile network, and different servers such as MNO, SM-DP(+), and SM-SR or SM-DS, testing the provisioning scenario is the second important building block to pave the way for a seamlessly working ecosystem.
A Standardized Approach – Make the Ecosystem Work Reliably
The standardization work – the important base for a wide acceptance – is nearly finalized. In 2014, the GSMA released the first specification targeting on the M2M use cases. At the end of 2015, the first consumer device specification followed. The respective test specification is currently under development and expected to be finalized by spring 2017 the latest. Within the scope of the GSMA’s specification work, GlobalPlatform is responsible for the qualification of the eUICC card interface as part of the M2M test specification. In addition, the SIMalliance has already released the eUICC Profile Package, an interoperable format that describes how the subscription data has to be built.
Working Together with the Expert
COMPRION experts are part of the test specification development. We use the expertise we have gained over the last decades to meet the technical challenges connected with the eUICC and remote provisioning. Based on this expertise and the resulting test specifications, COMPRION has developed a comprehensive portfolio of testing products. Our tools and solutions enable the different stakeholders to test the areas they are responsible for and make sure that all components work reliably together.
How the eSIM Makes Our Life Smarter
Stay Healthy (Consumer Devices)
A new generation of connected consumer devices supports you to stay healthy. Based on the miniaturization of the eSIM, small devices like a smart watch or even sportswear itself can be equipped with an eSIM to track your exercise and send the data via a cellular connection to the cloud. Even more important, monitoring other health data on a regular basis, like blood pressure or glucose could help you to improve your quality of life and the condition of your health.
Enjoy City Life (M2M)
In city life, we will see smart trash cans that detect when they are full and inform the garbage collectors when they need to be emptied. Parking lot management will be much more efficient. When intelligent parking lots detect that they are available, they report it to central management.
Help the Agriculture (M2M)
As a result of the high pressure on agricultural resources, farmers will need better information to make the most of their investment. The use of M2M systems gives farmers remote access to detailed information, for example, regarding soil conditions, their equipment, the weather, and the health of livestock and crops.
Susanne Wecker, Product Marketing Manager
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3GPP TS 31.127: Learn about the changes in mobile device testing with the evolution of eSIMs.
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