What is eUICC and how does it impact the future of connectivity

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eUICC is being hailed as the next evolutionary step for mobile connectivity and has been generating quite a bit of excitement recently because of the opportunities available thanks to eUICC. In this post we’ll take a look at a few of the biggest.


What is eUICC?

UICC stands for Universal Integrated Circuit Card, which is part of the functionality within SIM cards that help identify a device on a particular mobile network. Historically, this has been a static element of SIM cards, meaning that for every SIM card, there is one UICC associated with it.

It is possible that the UICC can migrate to another physical SIM, but if it does then it is no longer associated with the original SIM, and no other UICCs can be associated with the new SIM. But with a few exceptions (like multi-IMSI SIMs), SIM cards have worked in this way for the last couple of decades.

This may not be the case for much longer though, as eUICC (an ‘embedded’ UICC), otherwise known as an ‘eSIM’, has arrived to shake up the mobile connectivity world. 

The Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card does away with the need to migrate profiles between SIMs and opens up a host of possibilities beyond that, such as hosting multiple UICCs on a single SIM.

The implications of this are extremely exciting, but the advent of the eUICC does present some new things to consider as well...

Remote Provisioning and Profile Management

Possibly the biggest single development that eUICC brings is the ability to do OTA (over-the-air) provisioning and management of multiple profiles within a single SIM.

Imagine if you managed a network of just a few hundred devices and you wanted to switch your MNO. The task of coordinating the physical switching of that many SIM cards on the same day is massive, as is the potential for mistakes.

With eUICC, the entire migration process is undertaken by a single entity from a centralised location. The level of control and visibility you could have over this is an enormous step forward from what existed previously.

For networks that need high levels of redundancy, eUICC offers the benefit of being able to manage multiple profiles on a single SIM, in a more cost-effective way than previous technologies allowed for.

No single network operator can guarantee uptime round the clock, and a network outage can have a catastrophic knock-on effect. For networks running on eUICCs, though, these knock-on effects can be neatly avoided through the OTA provisioning and centralised profile management benefits that the technology provides.

eUICC and The Internet of Things

eUICC and the IoT are the perfect union. 

IoT devices typically use M2M (machine-to-machine) SIMs which are not removable or accessible unless you were to take the device to pieces. This is done for security and to make remote management easier.

We have already touched on how eUICC can manage remote devices easier, but for IoT devices this becomes much more important. Not all IoT devices will have access to a stable internet connection all the time and to provide the best customer experience, the device and the network need protection against interruptions to service.

Another benefit of an eUICC is connectivity out-of-the-box. With an M2M SIM able to connect to multiple providers around the world, IoT devices can be shipped anywhere with minimal configuration, speeding up delivery times and enabling a better user experience once delivered.

Benefits to Businesses

Enterprises and manufacturing businesses could benefit massively from the evolution of eUICC. Why? Well, in addition to users getting a much better, more integrated experience of using IoT-connected products, businesses will enjoy the benefit of a more streamlined production process. By installing a uniform M2M SIM that can connect globally, logistics become much easier and supply chains become more efficient.

Factor in a quicker and easier testing process, and businesses could realise significant cost-savings, helping to keep retail prices affordable and provide access to the IoT.

For businesses that operate complex networks with multiple devices per user, eUICC gives flexibility in how they manage that network, plus increased security and reliability.

Is it all good news?

It remains to be seen exactly how this model could change if the industry moves to eUICC or eSIM. Will operators still be guaranteed 24 months of revenue if customers can switch their SIM profile at any time? If not, how will this affect the way that contracts are structured, and devices paid for?

One thing is certain, eUICC represents the biggest shift in SIM technology there has been since the invention of the SIM itself. 

The full extent of the opportunities and innovations that it has made possible will continue to unfold over the coming years as device manufacturers, mobile network operators and consumers alike continue to get to grips with the latest evolution in mobile technology.

 

Disruptive OEM Enablement eBookWould you like to know more about where eUICC finds application? Download our "Disruptive OEM Enablement eBook" and learn how JT can implement eUICC for OEMs. 

To find out more about our other IoT solutions, contact one of our IoT experts. 

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Filed Under: eUICC, OEMs, Industrial IoT, General IoT/M2M, OTA, Industrial IoT Challenges, Device connectivity management, SIM management, IoT SIMs