The GSMA has published a new specification to enable remote ‘over-the-air’ (OTA) provisioning and management of Embedded SIMs in machine-to-machine (M2M) devices.
The specification, which has the backing of the world’s leading mobile operators and subscriber identity module (SIM) suppliers, aims to ensure interoperable technical solutions and further accelerate the rapidly growing M2M market. First deployments of the GSMA-compliant Embedded SIM solution are expected to roll out in 2014.
“The number of mobile connected devices is expected to reach 11 billion by 2020, growth that will be led predominantly by advances in the M2M market,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA. “This level of growth will be heavily dependent on the adoption of a common, global and interoperable SIM provisioning and management architecture that enables the M2M market to flourish. The specification released today will have a significant impact on the M2M marketplace, as it will help provide lower operational costs and drive economies of scale.”
The use of traditional SIMs — which require insertion and replacement — in M2M devices for transportation, utility metering or other applications can present challenges, as M2M devices are often remotely located and hermetically sealed. A specific, non-removable SIM is embedded into the M2M device at the point of manufacture and can later be remotely provisioned with the subscription profile of the operator providing the connectivity, which can be subsequently changed or modified over the air. This eliminates the need to intervene to replace SIM cards over the lifetime of each M2M product, reducing ongoing operational and logistical costs.
The Embedded SIM specification allows mobile network operators to provide scalable, reliable and secure connectivity for M2M connected devices. Further, the industry-standard Embedded SIM eliminates the need for each operator to develop their own technical solution for the remote provisioning of their SIMs and also facilitates operator switching if required at the end of a contract.
The Embedded SIM project has the backing of operators and SIM products and solutions partners from across the globe, including AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Morpho (Safran), NTT DOCOMO, Oberthur Technologies, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor and Vodafone.
Cameron Coursey, vice-president of Product Development and Operations, AT&T Emerging Devices, said: “This is an important step in ushering in a new era for M2M technology and as the global leader in providing M2M solutions we are pleased to have worked closely with the GSMA and industry partners to deliver a specification that works in the industry’s best interests.”
Also commenting on the initiative, Marcus Keith, Project Management Audi connect, said: “Without a globally recognised, standardised and harmonised connectivity solution the automotive industry will become unnecessarily complex and fragmented. As a car manufacturer an Embedded SIM that can be remotely provisioned is absolutely key for us in driving efficiency and simplicity and is to be welcomed. We thank the GSMA and partners for agreeing this specification.”
For more information on the GSMA’s Embedded SIM project visit: