remote SIM provisioning

The eSIM revolution is already underway. Organizations all around the world have started replacing physical SIM cards with eSIM technology. The first device besides a mobile to have a SIM card was a smart wearable. That marked the beginning of device OEMs like Microsoft, Apple, and Google positioning eSIM cards as the standard features of their upcoming devices. Soon enough, every smart appliance will be eSIM-enabled, leading to the skyrocketing growth of M2M connectivity and communications.

Business enterprises are coming up with innovative methods of improving IoT device connectivity. eSIM technology has been the most disruptive technology in the mobile market today. The exponential growth of this tech is only possible through its RSP feature. 

Let’s take a look at some key concepts related to eSIM and remote SIM provisioning.

Defining RSP (Remote SIM Provisioning):

SIM provisioning is a specification set by GSMA. It defines the working of the remote SIM activation and programming process. The objective behind RSP is to simplify several functions in a mobile service lifecycle or an M2M solution. It is also designed to create new business and pricing models, allowing users to use different operator profiles for various services such as long-distance calls, data service and roaming. 

According to the guidelines GSMA laid down, RSP has two types of architecture. One is for M2M (machine-to-machine), and one is focused on end consumer devices. 

RSP for M2M eSIMs:

The first time the development of an RSP solution took place was to design M2M SIM cards, primarily to meet the needs of the rapidly-growing M2M market. There are three critical elements within M2M architecture.

  1. SM-DP: (Subscription Manager – Data Preparation): The key responsibilities of SM-DP are preparing, storing and securing operator profiles. It also aims at downloading and installing profiles on the eUICC.
  2. SM-SR: (Subscription Manager – Secure Routing): SM-SR remains accountable for maintaining profile status – enabling, disabling or deleting. It also ensures communication channels that the SM-DP uses for delivering profiles to eUICC remain secure. 
  3. eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card): This element is where multiple network subscription profiles are stored. Every profile that you store in an eUICC is the equivalent of a physical SIM card.

RSP for Consumer eSIM:

Consumer eSIM RSP is more complicated than M2M because end-user interactions generate several new applications and use cases. In Consumer eSIM RSP, there are four key elements. 

SM-DP+: (Subscription Manager – Data Preparation+): 

SM-DP+ takes on the responsibilities of both SM-SR and SM-DP within the M2M architecture. It is responsible for creating, downloading, and managing profiles and providing security for the operator’s credentials. 

SM-DS: (Subscription Manager – Discovery Server): 

This element ensures that regardless of the access network a device connects to, the SM-DP+ will reach the destination eUICC.

Local Profile Assistant: (LPA): 

LPA as a component needs to be a part of every device that uses eSIM technology. It provides the capabilities required to download an encrypted profile onto the eUICC.

Differences Between eUICC and eSIM:

Since eSIM technology is relatively new in the market, most people don’t understand several basic concepts. Many think that eUICC sim and eSIM are interchangeable terms used for the same thing. However, one primary difference between these two concepts is that eUICC is the software component, while eSIM is the hardware.

eUICC is the software component of eSIM technology. It’s what enables an eSIM card to store several operator profiles in one eSIM and allows users to switch seamlessly between network operators. 

An eSIM card is the physical component of eSIM technology within which several network profiles are stored. A traditional physical SIM card can only hold one profile at a time. To switch to a different profile or operator, you need to physically change to another SIM card with that operator’s profile stored in it. 

Key Insights on Remote SIM Provisioning:

Let’s recap everything we’ve covered on RSP in this article and then take a look at the key takeaways.

  • RSP is a successful approach to manage secure device identity via eSIM and iSIM (integrated) technology. RSP provides a robust, scalable and secure solution to address the challenges of traditional SIMS. Remote profile management eliminates physical access requirements. Every IoT device benefits from the familiar SIM functionalities in a more accessible and flexible package called eSIM technology. It enables device owners to switch network operators remotely by securely and seamlessly switching a profile OTA (over-the-air). 
  • eSIM and RSP are breakthrough technologies. They make up for all limitations in the deployment of at-scale devices for IoT. A rapidly widening ecosystem is seeing the benefits of RSP for additional use cases. There are many new opportunities for innovation in startups and legacy enterprises while building on the value provided by RSP solutions.
  • The primary objective of RSP is managing profiles remotely with subscriber and operator data on mobile devices.

By Adam

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