New Specification Supports SIM Evolution by Facilitating Remote Firmware Loading

SIMalliance, the non-profit association which represents the global SIM industry, has published a specification which will support remote firmware loading across removeable, embedded and integrated SIMs.

Standardisation in this area is necessary because the emergence of new SIM form factors, implemented in different types of Secure Element (SE), has led to variations in how service providers maintain and evolve SIM cards once deployed in the field.SIMalliance’s new specification – Image Delivery Server (IDS) to Open Firmware Loader (OFL) Agent Interfaces Version 1.0.3  – complements a GlobalPlatform fast track specification published in 2017 that defines how Tamper Resistent Element (TRE) firmware can be loaded and managed onto various TRE form factors – including SEs such as removeable, embedded and integrated SIMs – after a device has been issued. SIMalliance has also published an ecosystem framework document which describes the functions and actors involved when loading firmware to a TRE.

Specifically, SIMalliance has defined the interface between the IDS and the OFL Agent (software on the device that communicates with the IDS to load  images* onto the TRE). This will enable images to be transferred in a consistent manner to reduce complexity and enhance interoperability across the ecosystem.

“By publishing this specification and ecosystem framework to help facilitate the consistent remote loading of firmware to SEs, SIMalliance is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to supporting the future evolution of the SIM ecosystem, including the emergence of new form factors,” comments Remy Cricco, Chair of SIMalliance. “SIMalliance is actively working with the industry in this area and we look forward to continued collaboration.”

Gil Bernabeu, Technical Director of GlobalPlatform, adds: “GlobalPlatform welcomes SIMalliance as a  contributor to the OFL ecosystem. This initiative complements our ongoing work on the core specification to enable a provisioning chain for personalised digital services from multiple service providers. These services can then be used right away by consumers as they have been pre-personalised. A simple solution to a nuanced challenge, making life easier for end-users.”

*Secure containers that encapsulate the TRE firmware, incorporating OS and apps.