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Secure Transactions News

No embedded SIM for iPhone 5, but for iPad

Thursday 2 December 2010

Today, according to SIMalliance, the flexibility of the Internet world (from traditional GSM/3G to broadband through to WiFi and Wimax, IMS and others) brings with it security threats never seen before in the mobile environment. This is where a Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC), integrating ISIM features for authentication to IMS networks comes into play. The ISIM is the collection of all of the IMS security data and functions on the UICC that is used to mutually authenticated users on IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) networks.

Featuring a multi-application and authentication structure, the UICC in the LTE environment offers authentication to the different networks via different applications. This is critical to ensure the mobile operator is protected against the threats of the Internet world, while the user can be assured of seamless connectivity across different networks.

The ISIM offers a level of secure access similar to a desktop VPN connection, giving both user and service provider a secure connection unprecedented in consumer mobile communications. This VPN-style connection is achieved by opening a secure IP tunnel that doesn’t endanger the MNO’s core network. It also allows new business opportunities for mobile operators: they can offer new services - such as ID Providers - or create new business models giving third parties access to the transport layer (while keeping them locked-out of the core). UICC’s capabilities also offer users and service providers remote file management and application management options. In the same way that loyalty cards provide supermarkets with important information regarding each shopper’s purchasing choices, UICC over LTE could potentially return feedback to MNOs and service providers.

On the other hand, Apple has reportedly given up on releasing an iPhone with an integrated SIM card. According to a Financial Times report, which cites people familiar with the situation, Apple has told operators it will not use the technology in the iPhone 5 - scheduled for launch in mid-2011 - but has not ruled out using embedded SIMs in future versions. Some of Europe’s leading mobile operators are warning that they could take punitive action against Apple if it introduces a technological innovation on its iPhone. The operators are privately saying they could refuse to subsidise the iPhone if Apple inserts an embedded SIM.

However, the company might soon launch an iPad 3G with an integrated SIM card, The Sunday Telegraph reports. It’s far easier for Apple to introduce the integrated SIM with the iPad 3G, since that device is not subsidized by mobile carriers. According to The Sunday Telegraph, Apple plans to launch the integrated-SIM variant of the iPad either before Christmas or in early 2011.