Not every IoT project requires eUICC, the software that enables you to send profiles to deployed devices over the air (OTA) without needing to physically switch SIM cards. But for many use cases, eUICC—either as part of an embedded SIM (eSIM) or a removable card—offers a lot more flexibility, efficiency, and potential cost and time savings.
If you’ve decided eUICC is a good option for your existing or upcoming IoT device deployment, what should you do next? The steps you take to get started will differ a little depending on the current state of your project. Let’s look at a few possible scenarios.
Scenario #1: You have an existing IoT deployment.
First, find out if you can replace your SIM cards with eUICC-enabled removable SIMs. While eUICC platforms and SIM manufacturers are required to be certified according to GSMA standards, compatibility between different platforms can still require custom integrations and testing to validate production performance.
- If your hardware is compatible with eUICC, you’ll need to recall existing devices, perform maintenance, and install the new cards. (Before you do that, look at how much signal strength your devices have in the field. Is it sufficient to support firmware and profile updates as needed?)
- If your hardware is not compatible with eUICC, consider the implications of moving toward it. Start by calculating the cost and benefits of investing in new hardware with an embedded MFF2 footprint, and determine whether it’s an immediate need or something to pursue down the road.
Scenario #2: You’re still in the planning stages for your IoT deployment.
Ask yourself this question: Is my use case better suited to embedded or removable SIMs? Think about it from every angle: cost, convenience, durability, and flexibility. Embedded SIMs are smaller and more physically secure inside the device, so they’re great for miniature sensors that will be deployed in remote locations. Removable SIMs might be a better, more convenient choice for larger devices that will stay within reach of personnel.
- If you choose eSIM, find a provider that can ship your eSIM hardware directly to your device manufacturer instead of to you. This will eliminate an unnecessary step and streamline the production process.
- If you choose removable SIMs, look for a form factor that fits well in your device design and is eUICC-enabled. The original credit-card-sized 1FF SIM is no longer in use, but the remaining options range in size from the 2FF Mini SIM (25 x 15 mm) to the 4FF Nano SIM (12.3 mm by 8.8 mm). Each card has the same size chip and holds between 16–256 KB of data.
What are the main components of an eUICC solution?
Before you adopt an eUICC solution, either through transitioning current devices to eUICC-enabled SIMs or designing new devices with eSIMs, it’s helpful to broaden your understanding of how eUICC works. Here are some of the puzzle pieces that need to be in place to unlock the full value of an eUICC-enabled deployment.
eUICC RSP Platform
The Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP) platform allows you to send profiles over the air (OTA) to devices in the field. The platform enables different eUICC actions (downloading, enabling, and deleting existing profiles on the device) and it stores connectivity profiles that can be sent to a SIM fleet.
eUICC-enabled SIM Manufacturing
eUICC-enabled SIM cards require specific parts with functionality to properly store and manage several connectivity profiles and to interface with the eUICC RSP platform. Typically, eUICC-enabled SIMs need far more storage space—512 KB or greater—than traditional SIMs. They also need to be manufactured in facilities that are certified for the GSMA eSIM ecosystem. The certification process, supported by COMPRION’s Consumer Devices card tests, includes rigorous testing and analysis of RSP performance.
The eUICC OS is loaded onto the physical SIMs. The software interfaces with cellular modules and eUICC RSP platform to manage different connectivity profiles on the SIM. Through the RSP platform, the eUICC can receive firmware updates OTA, meaning that its capabilities continue to expand and deepen over time. It’s self-improving software for your device.
eUICC-ready Connectivity Profiles and Commercial Agreements
Connectivity profiles are the “passport visas” that grant access to various networks around the world. Each profile is connected to a particular line of service and can be tailored to meet the needs of specific devices, depending on their connectivity requirements and where they are located. Hologram has a large portfolio of global cellular IoT connectivity profiles to draw from.
Without all four of these components in place, you won’t realize the full potential of eUICC for your IoT deployment. For example, you might find a provider with a reliable RSP platform, eUICC-enabled SIMs manufactured to GSMA standards, and functioning eUICC software—but if you don’t have access to diverse connectivity profiles and carriers around the globe, you might struggle to keep your devices connected.
Preparing for the Future
It’s a great time to embrace eUICC. Although this technology is still relatively new, it’s experiencing rapid growth across market verticals and is becoming a reality for many device deployments. Even if you’re not ready to switch from a traditional SIM to an eUICC model quite yet, it's worth taking the time to test your hardware for compatibility and talk about future evolution in your product design. eUICC and eSIM are here to stay, and figuring out how they fit into your long-term business plan is a smart decision that will help your devices stay future-proofed.
Take the First Step
Ready to find out if your current devices are compatible with eUICC? Reach out to us and we’ll ship you an eUICC-enabled SIM. To test for compatibility, we'll initiate one cycle of an OTA cycle that downloads a new profile, enables it, and deletes it. If your device is successful on the first round, chances are it's fully compatible—but we'll do a few more cycles of testing, just to be sure.