What is an eUICC?
eUICC stands for Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card. It can come in many different form factors, such as micro, nano or mini or eSIM. Many people consider eUICC and eSIM to be the same thing, although this is not the case.
An eUICC SIM can be provisioned Over-the-air (OTA), according to the GSMA standard. It beats many of the challenges of using traditional SIMs, where your business was traditionally locked into the operator that you connected with at the point of manufacture. As IoT is a global business, enterprises need connectivity anywhere for their IoT deployments, plus the freedom to make changes to ensure availability, quality of service, and meet granular needs in terms of security or privacy. You can’t see into the future, so it’s also important that your solution for IoT connectivity is future-proofed. As an eUICC can be provisioned OTA, enterprises can add profiles with new vendor connectivity attached and switch without needing to physically change the device.
How does eUICC technology work?
There are three main elements of a Remote SIM Provisioning platform within the eUICC standard.
- SM-DP: This stands for Subscription Management Data Preparation. It prepares, stores and protects the operator profiles, including keeping any credentials secure. It will also download and install profiles onto the eUICC when necessary.
- SM-SR: This is the Subscription Management Secure Routing. It will make changes to the profiles on the eUICC where necessary, such as enabling or disabling profiles and deleting them if called for, and will also secure the communications between the SM-DP and the eUICC when profiles are downloaded and installed.
- The eUICC itself: This is the SIM that contains the subscription profiles. It can be any form factor – including removable, embedded or integrated. Each profile can be considered standalone with all the SIM functionality of a traditional operator SIM.
What are the benefits of using an eUICC SIM?
As an eUICC can be provisioned OTA, you get a lot more flexibility when it comes to connectivity, which is really important for IoT. IoT devices can’t just get up and wander into a local operator’s store to switch out a SIM card if they aren’t getting good service. The ability to use SIM profiles and switch operators OTA provides options for compliance, for example in countries like Brazil where roaming is limited to 90 days, as well as for choosing the most cost-effective or available carrier in a specific region of choice.
What challenges are there with eUICC SIMs?
Although eUICC SIMs solve some problems that come with using an eSIM, they also open up additional challenges, in particular adding complexity. Most eUICCs are registered to a specific SM-SR platform which has existing relationships, and new profiles might not be easily integrated without heavy costs. Additionally, every time you want to add mobile network operators and their profiles to your eUICC, you’ll need to partner with them individually, creating multiple contracts, SLA, management services and agreements, and stay on top of each of these individually moving forward.
There are also license fees associated with using an eUICC SIM, and the data charges can be pretty heavy when you consider that you need to download complete profiles every time you want to make a change. In particular for LPWAN devices, the one-time cost of downloading the data profile can be more than the devices generate in a year. When you multiply this by thousands of devices, the costs can become tough to swallow.
Using a multi-IMSI SIM approach with eUICC
One way to reduce the costs and complexity of using eUICC, is to work with a multi-IMSI provider for connectivity services in the first profile of your eUICC-compliant eSIM. Within a single profile, you can access dozens of profiles, each of which works like a single MNO profile. Switching IMSIs can be done OTA, but without the heavy data costs of downloading an entire profile, as you only download the IMSI.
Integrate with a vendor who offers a complete connectivity management platform for any SIM form factor, and you can view and manage all of your IMSIs from a single portal, without the complexity of making agreements with multiple vendors. You can switch IMSIs whenever you choose – without needing to reach out to the operators.
Interested in benefiting from eUICC technology for your IoT business case?
At floLIVE, we offer flexible solutions using both eSIM and eUICC technology to meet any connectivity need. Our goal for you is nothing less than truly global, always-on connectivity – and we offer a single vendor relationship to get you there. Ready to learn more about our multi-IMSI approach for cost-effective, lightweight connectivity? Let’s schedule a demo.