most still we connect to the internet from the smartphone via 4G. Some lucky ones are already enjoying 5G. And it is more and more common to hear about the following 6G generation. And to make this possible, inside the device we have a SIM card. Or if you’re a early adopter, maybe you use an eSIM. But when the latter has not yet been extended, we are already talking about the next step. Which one? The iSIM.
Behind the iSIM there are big names in telecommunications such as Vodafone, Qualcomm Y Thales, so it’s too number-heavy to be something we’ll see on a lot of phones in the future. And, according to those responsible, it complies with the GSMA specifications, the association that is responsible for implementing and promoting mobile telephony.
The iSIM, like the eSIM, is integrated into the phone or mobile device itself. Unlike the usual SIM card, which we have to insert manually and change it if you contract another provider. With iSIM and eSIM, change supplier it is, or will be, much easier. And, in addition, the integration with the phone itself is much better, offering a better service and consuming fewer resources.
The SIM is a key piece in mobile devices that use GSM connections. Today this translates to accessing the internet through 4G and 5G networks. In the future, 5G and 6G will surely coexist. Regardless of the generation that makes this connection to the world wide web possible, we must have a SIM. To be physical or virtual It will depend on the manufacturers of phones, tablets, watches and other mobile gadgets.
The SIM or SIM card we all know her. When we change our telephone provider, it provides us with a tiny plastic card with a chip. SIM is the acronym for Subscriber Identity Module, subscriber identification module. Its function is to identify the mobile device in the mobile telephone network. Born in 1996 as SIM, a hybrid of plastic and chip, over the years the plastic has been disappearing to offer us the miniSIM, the microSIM and, finally, the nanoSIM.
But changing providers is a hassle. Take out the SIM and insert the new one. Also, at a technical level, including the corresponding module for the SIM It is an effort for the manufacturer. And a challenge, since with that slot there are added risks such as the phone not being as watertight as it should or dust or tiny fibers getting in. The solution, that the SIM is already integrated in the phone. Without need to physically open it.
the eSIM, embedded SIM, see the light in 2016. Unlike the SIM, it is a chip integrated into the motherboard of the phone. Through the software, the user can change provider comfortably. And for the manufacturer, this means creating watertight devices that consume less energy and resources in managing the SIM.
And since everything can be improved, the next bet is to improve the integration of the SIM in mobile devices receives the name of iSIM, acronym for integrated SIM. Like the eSIM, it translates into a chip integrated into the phone or device itself. But instead of on the motherboard, is part of the processor itself. And this, on paper, are all advantages.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the iSIM is a bet of Vodafone, Qualcomm Y Thales, three companies related to telecommunications. His proposal is an improvement and evolution of the eSIM integrating the chip into the processor instead of creating a dedicated processor for the SIM, as is now the case with the eSIM.
For the manufacturer, the phone or mobile device dispenses with the specific module for the SIM and the processor that the eSIM requires. The iSIM comes standard on the phone’s own processor. So there will be more space for the rest of the components. Something important both in phones or tablets and in tiny devices such as bracelets, watches and other smart IoT-type gadgets (Internet of Things).
For manufacturer and users, there are many shared benefits: more security by making it difficult or impossible to clone the SIM, the device will last longer by having fewer moving parts and, in addition, you can combine several lines or numbers phone in the same iSIM. And for suppliers it also has advantages, since the eSIM infrastructure It is already used to work with iSIM.
Far from being an idea, the technology that makes iSIM possible already exists physically. The proof of concept has been carried out in Europe by Vodafone in its mobile networks. Specifically, at Samsung facilities. For this they have used a smartphone Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G.
The particularity of this test device is that its processor Snapdragon 888 5G of Qualcomm integrates a SPU (Secure Processing Unit) that makes the jump to iSIM possible. The reason is that the SPU integrates the iSIM operating system of Thales.
As of here, we still don’t know when will we see the first devices compatible with iSIM. But seeing the advantages it offers and the ease of implementation in the infrastructure that telecommunications providers already have, it is not ruled out that we will hear about iSIM during this year. And even more so if we take into account that the iSIM arrives at the best time, since the characteristics of the 5G technology They require extra help to reduce the consumption of resources and battery by the devices that access these mobile networks.
Other questions to ask us is How long will they live together? traditional SIM cards with eSIM/iSIM and whether both virtual technologies will coexist or whether iSIM will eventually replace eSIM if it delivers on its promises of greater efficiency.