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11 February 2019

Forget the eSIM saga, now DT is eliminating the SIM card altogether

The transition from single-device SIM cards, activated by the operator; to embedded, remotely controllable SIMs has been a painful one, leaving MNOs faced with the loss of their primary means of control and monetization of their subscribers. However, the huge number of devices envisaged for the Internet of Things has made a new SIM approach inevitable, hence the broad support for the GSMA-led Embedded SIM (eSIM) specifications. But now, Deutsche Telekom is shifting the goalposts again, with the development of nuSIM, which eliminates the separate physical SIM card altogether.

The German telco is working with various partners – mainly specialists in IoT chipsets and security – on the project, which aims to move all the SIM functionality from the physical card directly to the chipset, to support mobile IoT applications.

nuSIM is specifically focused on low cost IoT devices with a long lifespan, such as asset trackers or smart motion or temperature sensors. Getting rid of the physical SIM card will simplify the form factor of a low power device and reduce its cost, package size and likelihood of failure. It will improve battery life still further and also remove the need for the logistical activities associated with SIM cards, such as inventory processing.

DT said nuSIM would provide a common set of specs to enable “minimum hardware and software footprint for cost-efficient implementations with minimal power consumption”. The operator’s credentials would be placed on the device at chip level during manufacture, using a simple and standardized digital process, the telco continued.

Ingo Hofacker, SVP responsible for DT’s IoT business, said: “The most important success driver for us is to anticipate customer needs to make sure we enable their business success. nuSIM, our rigorously optimized SIM solution for the cost-sensitive mobile IoT market is our latest endeavour, and an important building block for our offering moving forward.”