Series 10 – Episode 7 – The evolution of the eSIM

23rd December 2022
Paige West

Paige West speaks with Claus Dietze, Chair of the Board at the Trusted Connectivity Alliance about the SIM industry, in particular eSIM and iSIM developments.

Previously known as the SIM Alliance, the Trusted Connectivity Alliance (or the TCA) has existed for almost 25 years.

Its ambition is to enable trust in a connected future and to drive the sustained growth of a connected society through, as the name suggests, trusted connectivity. Trusted connectivity is used to protect the assets that are involved in the communication.

Members of the TCA are all leaders within what’s called the global temporary assistance element ecosystem. It’s the overarching term or description for the smart card, SIM card and all these kinds of security technologies that consist of a secure hardware with a secure software on top of that.

The eSIM was actually introduced in 2012, so more than 10 years ago. It originated in the automotive sector and the concept of the connected car came to life.

“It introduced a couple of new requirements that SIM cards could not sufficiently cope with at this point in time.

“You all have a picture of a SIM card in your mind, with the golden contact area, sliding that into the card reader of the device. The contact area of the segments then, of course, are exposed to a lot of friction. If you then imagine that the car is driving over a bumpy road, it’s exposed to this friction quite permanently and over a long period of time that could lead to mechanical destruction of the SIM card itself.”

The eSIM introduced a new form factor that could be soldered onto the PCB of the devices that are responsible for the communication.

Back in May 2022, the Trusted Connectivity Alliance announced that eSIM technology was entering a new era. Significant increases in eSIM profile activations signalled growing consumer awareness of the technology, making it only a matter of time before mainstream adoption was realised as the number of enabled smartphones grew. That time has now come with the announcement from Apple that its iPhone 14 range will be available in the US as eSIM-only.

The decision to rely solely on eSIM for its flagship product is the strongest possible endorsement of the technology’s benefits, namely advanced security, seamless and flexible connectivity, and full end-to-end digitalisation. And given Apple’s market-leading position, we can now expect other OEMs to follow suit.

Dietze goes on to talk about the announcement from Apple, how enterprises and organisations are levering the technology outside of the smartphone market and what an eSIM future lookd like for organisations and consumers.

To hear more about eSIM developments and much more, you can listen to Electronic Specifier’s interview with Claus Dietze on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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