The most widely distributed secure application delivery platform in the world

What is a SIM?

SIM technology is foundational to everyday life.

A Subscriber Identity Module, commonly known as SIM, is the hardware that enables devices to connect to cellular networks owned by mobile operators. The SIM applications contained within the hardware provide individual end users who subscribe to the mobile network (known as subscribers) with authenticated access and related value-added services.

The benefits of SIM technology have been proven over decades and on a massive scale, but the story of the SIM continues to be one of constant evolution.The SIM applications that identify a subscriber and allow secure access to a cellular network are incorporated within connected devices via highly-secure Tamper Resistant Elements (TREs). TREs are available in various different form factors, which have become smaller and more advanced over time as the industry has continued to innovate to meet emerging demands.

Exclusive market monitoring figures from TCA show that in 2023 the digitalisation of the SIM continued to accelerate amid strong eSIM adoption in key regions such as North America, with TCA estimating the total available market for SIM (excluding eSIM) was 3.8 billion units.

What are the Benefits of SIM Technology?

Trusted Connectivity

SIM technology offers users a reliable way to connect their device to cellular networks while simultaneously preventing unauthorized access.

Advanced Security

The SIM has never been hacked and its advanced functionality enables the SIM to pass Common Criteria certification – indicating the highest-levels of security. Cryptographic features of the SIM, including a securely designed central processing unit and dedicated secure memory to store operating system programmes, keys, and certificate data, protect devices from various hacking scenarios, such as cloning, physical attacks to a single device, and remote attacks.

Global Interoperability

The SIM is the most widely distributed secure application delivery platform in the world and its use is enabled by interoperable solutions defined across various standards organisations such as ETSI, GlobalPlatform, ISO and Java Card Forum.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Tamper Resistant Element (TRE)?

A TRE is a standalone secure element or secure enclave, consisting of hardware and low-level software providing resistance against logical and physical attacks, capable of hosting secure applications and their confidential and cryptographic data, and are available in removeable, embedded and more recently, integrated form factors.

What is the difference between the UICC and SIM?

UICC is the platform, specified by ETSI, that can be used to run multiple security applications. These applications include the SIM for 2G networks, USIM for 3G, 4G and 5G networks, CSIM for CDMA, and ISIM (not to be confused with integrated SIM) for IP multimedia services.

‘SIM’ is the generic term for the applications residing on the UICC that identify a subscriber and allow them to securely access a mobile network.

However, both terms are often used interchangeably.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a SIM that has one of the physical plug-in form factors as defined by ETSI (plug-in, micro-SIM, nano-SIM).