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What is eUICC and what does it mean for you?
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What is eUICC and what does it mean for you?

Posted by IoT Now MagazineNovember 3, 2017

Having recently rolled out embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC) tariffs in Europe and the Caribbean, with plans to launch more soon, Stream Technologies is at the forefront when it comes to delivering on the value that this technology promises to deliver. Stream’s eUICC-enabled SIMs operate throughout multiple countries and multiple regions, support multiple subscriptions and can be reprogrammed remotely using our award-winning IoT-X Connectivity Management Platform (CMP).

eUICC opens the door to a range of use cases that cannot be supported by conventional SIMs and offers exciting opportunities to enterprises and mobile network operators (MNOs). This case study outlines the opportunities and challenges presented by eUICC connectivity, and examines how Stream’s eUICC offering enables enterprises and MNOs to benefit from serious value enhancement and immense competitive differentiation by embracing this new technology.

eUICC technology is transforming cellular connectivity for enterprises and MNOs. With conventional SIM cards, if a customer wants to change network operator, they need to swap the physical SIM inside their device. The development of eUICC-enabled SIMs means that enterprises can remotely provision SIM profiles over the air, without having to change the physical SIM card. For MNOs, eUICC represents an easy point of entry into the next wave of new, high net average revenue per user (ARPU) Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity revenue.

The terms eUICC and embedded SIM (eSIM) are often used interchangeably, however it’s important to emphasise the distinction between the two. eSIM is an embeddable SIM card, while eUICC is a remotely programmable SIM card which is available in a range of form factors. There is a common misconception that an eUICC solution must be an eSIM. This is a miscommunication within the market which has confused operators and enterprises. Contrary to popular belief, eUICC-enabled SIM cards are available in all the standard SIM formats.

The eUICC opportunity

Capitalising on the increasing presence of IoT connectivity represents the next big market opportunity for enterprises and MNOs. As IoT becomes commonplace, there will be an acceleration of growth for robust, secure, easy to manage and cost-effective cellular connectivity on a global scale.

Enterprises that embrace this digital transformation will see serious value enhancement and immense competitive differentiation, but only if they are able to address the patchwork and fragmented structure of the current global cellular network. The most agile networks are starting to recognise this, and are enabling access to solutions powered by the eUICC standard by acquiring or imitating net-new businesses.

For enterprises and operators, the adoption of eUICC will require multiple evolved technologies which will open up immense scaling in cellular connected devices and the transit of data via existing cellular networks. Coordinating change on this scale is undoubtedly a complex challenge.

Solve the eUICC challenge

To help scale eUICC connectivity on a global basis, two fundamental technologies are required. The first is a platform that enables simple and fast integration with IoT centred subscriptions on in-country MNO cellular bearer services. This must be a platform that can provide a single generic control layer of tariffs, SIM connectivity services and data-transit. Ideally this would be provided through a comprehensive suite of application programme interfaces (APIs) and a single private access point name (APN) for multiple MNO bearer services across a range of countries and regions.

The second is a platform, or an integration with a platform, that manages the downloadable profile and secure keys to the SIM. One without the other doesn’t provide a solution that delivers the global or multi-country connectivity required by enterprise clients. Through integration between Stream’s IoT-X CMP and Oberthur’s M-Connect profile download platform, Stream provides an eUICC solution that is complete in its delivery.

Manage eUICC connectivity with IoT-X

Through integration with Oberthur’s M-Connect profile download platform, IoT-X provides seamless management of SIM subscriptions and functionality, irrespective of the MNO bearer service. IoT-X has evolved into an agile and costeffective eUICC CMP, minimising the time, cost and resources required for enabling the onboarding and integration of multiple MNOs.

IoT-X is designed to allow enterprise clients to self-manage connectivity. To this end the platform delivers all the functionality required to manage device connectivity directly into the hands of the customer. If required, Stream can provide IoT-X as a managed service to the enterprise. In terms of the countries needed by the enterprise for cellular connectivity, Stream engages with the MNO in that country and integrates them into IoT-X behind the scenes, at the same time taking care of the commercial agreements to align tariffs, terms and conditions.

An eUICC global hub

IoT-X allows any MNO to integrate easily into an IoT CMP global hub. MNOs that are integrated into the IoT CMP global hub will be able to share in the connections and data traffic that will be generated in their country, on their network, by large enterprise clients who are headquartered in countries throughout the world. This can all be achieved efficiently, quickly and at minimal cost. An MNO could, if it so wished, also choose to utilise IoT-X to develop and manage IoT connections on its own network, generated from its own in-country customer base.

Those very customers could then be offered eUICC service options, alongside the more traditional in-country overseas network options, thereby enabling export opportunities. This functionality utilises a single CMP and single screen view, irrespective of the number of MNO services adopted. The home country MNO also benefits from retaining complete control of the end customer contractual and engagement relationships.

By integrating with the IoT-X CMP, MNOs benefit from a high degree of future-proofing. For example, narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) functionality can be added to the platform as it becomes adopted. Similarly, LoRaWAN subscription and/or server network management capability can be added, as can predictive analytics, concerning network and device performance. Ultimately all this blends into an enhanced service capability around all connected IoT devices and support, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction.

Benefits for enterprises and MNOs

The addition of eUICC to Stream’s existing portfolio of services provides enterprises and MNOs with the opportunity to capitalise on a wide range of benefits. From the perspective of the enterprise, Stream delivers the unified connectivity solution needed to deploy IoT services throughout markets across the globe. Stream’s existing partnerships with multiple global operators mean that enterprises have access to low-cost, multinational IoT connectivity, without the headache of integrating and interacting with multiple vendors and their various connectivity management platforms on an individual basis.

From the perspective of MNOs, eUICC connectivity delivers the opportunity to join an ecosystem of partners for global deployment, with each MNO benefiting from increased connections of higher value IoT connections onto their network. Furthermore, eUICC connections represent a net new market to network operators. By enabling eUICC connectivity to operate on their network, MNOs stand to gain a greater share in the revenue that this opportunity offers, by increasing the number of high-ARPU IoT connections that are trafficked through their network.

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