As often, when people with a culture coming from electronics create a new solution, they focus on the electronics integration and forget about what’s beyond their components. The development of eSIMs is symptomatic of this myopia.
The eSIM concept would have existed from Day 1 if mobile telephony was invented now. Our always-on always connected world makes the eSIM solution more convenient than the removable SIM one: it saves a connector in the handset along with valuable space, and it is updateable, allowing for more flexibility in consumer support, marketing and care. In fact, the eSIM has already been widely adopted, first in M2M devices, and now in the booming IoT market as by 2020, connected objects in use worldwide could reach 20.4 billion, according to Gartner.
A set of recent news highlight the fact the eSIM value lies in its management and no longer in the component.
Idemia announced the acquisition of Vancouver-based Otono Networks and its eSIM orchestration technology. Their comprehensive eSIM lifecycle management solution aims at simplifying the adoption of eSIM for both mobile operators (MNOs) and device manufacturers (OEMs). The Otono Platform, which provides a centralized management system for all elements of the eSIM ecosystem, was designed specifically to handle eSIM, and together with an integrated SM-DP+, manages the entire eSIM lifecycle from provisioning to activation, profile selection, subscription management, and error-handling logic.
At the same time, Deutsche Telekom announces it has selected G+D Mobile Security as the supplier for eSIM management of private users’ mobile devices, in order to prepare for the increasing availability of mobile devices with a pre-installed embedded SIM card (eSIM), as well as rising user numbers for eSIM-based services. The solution enables activation of devices via over-the-air downloading of the eSIM profile, so users can get started using their devices straight away. G+D AirOn manages eSIM profiles on all eSIM-enabled devices – from activation and profile management throughout the device lifecycle, to deactivation.
Finally, Gemalto announces its new Subscription Management Discovery Service solution, in a bid to boost on-demand connectivity activation for consumer devices such as smartwatches, tablets, connected PCs and more. In the case of devices sold independently from a mobile subscription, the service removes the hassle of issuing a QR code for activation and automatically gives users the freedom to choose their network. For operator-branded devices, it automatically connects to the operator's back-end to activate the eSIM. This makes adoption of eSIM technology a lot simpler for end-users. Already, Gemalto has announced that it will supply an eSIM solution for Microsoft’s Surface Pro with LTE Advanced.
After a few years needed for the industry to realize the value of the eSIM comes from its management, the eSIM is no longer seen as a revolution at the upcoming Mobile World Congress. It’s just business as usual.