Last Thursday, the GSM Association announced the formation of a task force of mobile operators to explore the development of an embedded SIM that can be remotely activated. The association expects to enable the design of exciting new form factors for mobile communications and speed the development of M2M services by making it easier to bring mobile broadband to non-traditional devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices and e-Readers, as well as smart meters.
Says Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA: "as our industry moves from connecting phones to connecting a wide range of devices, it is apparent that the embedded SIM could deliver even greater flexibility. The embedded SIM will provide assured levels of security and portability for consumers, as well as provide additional functionality for enabling new services such as e-Wallet and NFC applications."
The GSMA-led task force comprises a group of technical experts drawn from operators including AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA), China Mobile (Queen's Road, Hong Kong), Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany), France Telecom Orange (Arcueil, France), KT (Seongnam, South Korea), NTT DOCOMO (Tokyo, Japan), SK Telecom (Seoul, South Korea), Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy), Telefónica (Madrid, Spain), Verizon Wireless (New York, NY, USA) and Vodafone (Newbury, UK). The group will work in cooperation with major SIM producers.
The task force will analyze market requirements and deliver a technical solution as an evolution of the current SIM provisioning mechanisms. The proposed embedded SIM solution will include programmable SIM card capabilities to enable remote activation.
The group is expected to complete the analysis of market requirements by January 2011. The GSMA claims the resulting technical solution will be built on the principles of openness and standardization. Devices featuring the new SIM activation capability are expected to appear in 2012. Traditional SIM-supported devices will continue to work on existing networks.