Trusted Connectivity Alliance updates eSIM specification

31st May 2023
Sheryl Miles

Trusted Connectivity Alliance has released Version 3.3 of its eUICC Profile Package: Interoperable Format Technical Specification (Interoperable Profile Package Specification).

The latest version of the specification includes major updates to support the remote loading of eSIM profiles onto network-constrained IoT devices, as well as full alignment with 3GPP Release 17 to enable enhanced 5G functionality and emerging use-cases. It also includes clarifications and guidance to further promote eSIM interoperability.

TCA’s Interoperable Profile Package Specification – which is used in every eSIM deployed in the field – standardises the format used for the remote loading of subscriptions onto eSIMs across deployed devices. This enables mobile operators to load interoperable connectivity profiles in an eSIM, regardless of the SIM vendor.

A key update in Version 3.3 is the definition of a ‘lightweight’ IoT minimal profile to address the growing challenge of remotely managing network-constrained IoT devices. This makes it possible to provision a profile even when bandwidth is very limited, which is crucial to supporting the growing use of eSIM technology to enable various IoT use-cases and connectivity services. In an important industry development that will further promote worldwide eSIM interoperability, Version 3.3 is referenced in GSMA’s newly released eSIM for IoT Technical Specification (SGP.32) – the dedicated, globally-backed remote SIM specification for IoT.

“TCA’s Interoperable Profile Package Specification has been foundational to the development of the eSIM ecosystem, helping enable secure and reliable Remote SIM Provisioning for consumer and M2M devices,” comments Denis Praca, Chair of the TCA eUICC Working Group. “As demand for eSIM technology to enable a vast array of IoT use-cases and services builds, this evolution marks a significant milestone that will deliver the trust and consistency needed to promote innovation and accelerate adoption.”

Claus Dietze, Chair of the TCA Board, adds: “This latest technical achievement is a clear reflection of the crucial role our organisation plays in bringing together leading industry stakeholders, shaping the continued standardisation and enhancement of eSIM technology.”

The publication follows the release of the latest TCA eSIM market data, which revealed significant growth in the global adoption of eSIM technology in 2022. Consumer and M2M eSIM profile downloads collectively increased by 135% as stakeholders realised the benefits of flexible connectivity, advanced security, and end-to-end digitalisation. Increased adoption also coincided with the growing deployment of eSIM-enabled devices to maintain ongoing momentum for eSIM shipment volumes. Shipments reported by TCA members increased by 13% year-on-year to reach 382 million units, with TCA also estimating the total available market in 2022 at 427 million units.

The Interoperable Profile Package Specification was first published in 2015 and TCA remains committed to its ongoing evolution in close collaboration with industry partners, including 3GPP, ETSI, GlobalPlatform, and GSMA. TCA also develops associated test specifications which provide a globally standardised means of testing products to ensure the connectivity profile is correctly loaded.

Other TCA initiatives to promote consistency across the eSIM ecosystem include the TCA eSIM Interoperability Service – delivered by COMPRION – which enables operators to proactively test that their eSIM profiles are compatible with a wide range of commercially available devices prior to deployment.

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