In machine to machine (M2M) applications where there is no requirement to change the SIM card, this avoids the requirement for a connector, improving reliability and security. An eSIM can be provisioned remotely; end-users can add or remove operators without the need to physically swap a SIM from the device.
eSIM is a global specification by the GSMA which enables remote SIM provisioning of any mobile device, and GSMA defines eSIM as the SIM for the next generation of connected consumer device, and networking solution using eSIM technology can be widely applicable to various Internet of things (IoT) scenarios, including connected cars (smart rearview mirrors, on-board diagnostics (OBD), vehicle hotspots), artificial intelligence translators, MiFi devices, smart earphones, smart metering, car trackers, DTU, bike-sharing, advertising players, video surveillance devices, etc.
The surface mount format provides the same electrical interface as the full size, 2FF, 3FF and 4FF SIM cards, but is soldered to a circuit board as part of the manufacturing process. The eSIM format is commonly designated as MFF2.
Since 2010, the GSMA had been discussing the possibilities of a software-based SIM card .
While Motorola noted that eUICC is geared at industrial devices, Apple "disagreed that there is any statement forbidding the use of an embedded UICC in a consumer product."
A first version of the standard was published in March 2016, followed by a second version in November 2016.
In 2016, the Samsung Gear S2 smart watch was the first device to implement an eSIM.
In 2017, during Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm introduced a technical solution, with a live demonstration, within its Snapdragon hardware chip associated with related software (secured Java applications).
The European Commission has selected in 2012 the embedded UICC format for its in-vehicle emergency call service known as eCall. All new car models in the EU must have one by 2018 to instantly connect the car to the emergency services in case of an accident.
Singapore is seeking public opinions on introducing eSIM as a new standard as more compatible devices enter the market.
Apple implemented eSIM support in its Apple Watch series 3 and second generation iPad Pro devices. In September 2018, Apple released the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and in October 2018 the iPhone XR with eSIM support. In September 2019, Apple released the IPhone 11, IPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max with support for eSIM. eSIM support on iPhone requires iOS 12.1 or later.
Google unveiled the Pixel 2 in October 2017, which added eSIM support for use with its Google Fi service.. In 2018 Google released the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and subsequently in May 2019 the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL with eSIM support for carriers other than Google Fi. Later that year in October, Google released the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL with eSIM support.
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