Integration: Drivers of an evolution in SIM technology
SIM technology provides the foundation for the most widely distributed secure application delivery platform in the world. SIM / USIM applications enable access to mobile networks and have traditionally been incorporated within mobile devices via Tamper Resistant Element (TRE) hardware, in standalone Secure Element (SE) form factors such as the removable SIM or eSIM.
In recent years however, market forces have been driving demand for SIM functionality to be integrated within a secure enclave on a System-on-Chip (SoC). While expectations have changed regarding the performance and physical attributes of connected devices, the need to retain SIM security levels remains constant. The requirement for flexible, trusted connectivity has never been so great and the integration of SIM functionality on a SoC offers a unique approach which brings exclusive benefits to a host of use cases.
Integrated SIM: The benefits of global standardisation
With market trends driving smaller yet highly secure connected devices, there have been multiple industry initiatives in recent years to define and commercialise integrated SIM functionality for consumer and IoT devices, such as proprietary software-based SIM and the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)-based SIM solutions.
Of these, integrated SIM solutions have been introduced to deliver the highest levels of security assurance. In these solutions, SIM functionality is implemented on a hardware TRE integrated within a host SoC.
Significant standardisation and specification development activity related to the integrated SIM is advancing within widely recognised international standards developing organisations and industry associations to promote global interoperability and consistency.
The standardised integrated SIM is now recognised by the TCA as an innovative, new SIM form factor, which sits alongside the established eSIM and which can bring numerous benefits to a broad range of secure connectivity use cases which require small SIM dimensions, low energy consumption, or high levels of accessible memory and/or advanced computing power.