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High 5 benefits and present tendencies of iSIM expertise

There have been some makes an attempt to make a totally holeless smartphone. The Meizu Zero was introduced in 2019 and it’s the world’s first cellphone with no bodily buttons, speaker cutout, SIM slot, or USB port. This smartphone makes use of an eSIM (digital SIM). The present development doesn’t contain an eSIM, it includes an iSIM (built-in SIM). On this expertise, the SIM card can be built-in with the processor of the smartphone. If iSIM expertise may be utilized to smartphones, will the SIM card’s exit be far behind?. In the present day, Qualcomm introduced that it has partnered with Vodafone and Thales to include the performance of a SIM card into the system’s major processor. It’s value noting that that is the world’s first demonstration software of iSIM expertise on a smartphone.

iSIM expertise testing

In the present day, Qualcomm used the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G for its technical demonstration. This smartphone makes use of the Snapdragon 888 5G processor and Qualcomm needed to modify the chip. Based on Qualcomm, when this expertise is industrial, it can roll out to many new gadgets that use iSIM connectivity for cellular providers.

Nonetheless, it is very important word that the new iSIM commonplace relies on eSIM. iSIM is the direct integration of SIM expertise into the primary chipset of the system. Its key characteristic is to eradicate the bodily house requirement of the SIM card. It additionally combines the benefits of eSIM, together with distant SIM configuration for operators, stronger safety ensures, and many others.


High 5 benefits of iSIM

Earlier than as we speak, there was not a lot info relating to the iSIM expertise. Nonetheless, Qualcomm’s occasion has revealed numerous info. Based on Qualcomm, listed here are the highest software benefits of iSIM expertise

  • Frees up house contained in the system to simplify and improve system design and efficiency. 
  • Capacity to combine SIM performance with a number of key features corresponding to GPU, CPU, and modem into the system’s major chipset. 
  • Permits operators to leverage present eSIM infrastructure for distant SIM provisioning. 
  • Add cellular service connectivity to numerous gadgets that beforehand didn’t have built-in SIM performance
  • Capacity to combine cellular providers into gadgets aside from cell phones, together with ARVR, tablets, wearable gadgets, and many others.

iSIM Historical past

As early as three years in the past on the MWC19 Shanghai exhibition, Qualcomm confirmed an indication of iSIM expertise. At the moment, the Qualcomm Snapdragon cellular platform demonstrated that the built-in safety module can instantly “simulate” the SIM card. The encryption, authentication, and storage features are purely software-based options.


In actual fact, Qualcomm is just not the primary producer to suggest the thought of ​​implementing iSIM. As early as 2018, ARM disclosed its iSIM expertise. By integrating a SIM card in an ARM-based SoC, digital gadgets corresponding to cell phones can talk with operators.

The iSIM expertise introduced by ARM consists of the Kigen OS system and impartial {hardware} blocks for safe encryption. It additionally integrates the applying processor, baseband chip, and SIM card within the cell phone right into a single chip.

It isn’t troublesome to see from the measures that main chip producers are actively selling iSIM expertise. iSIM is a expertise that conforms to the longer term improvement development and has the potential to switch bodily SIM playing cards and eSIM.

Common SIM Vs eSIM Vs iSIM

For many customers, bodily SIM playing cards are nonetheless the one choice of their digital gadgets. With the evolution of useful telephones to smartphones, SIM playing cards have additionally modified from extraordinary SIM playing cards to Nano-SIM playing cards. The dimensions has grow to be considerably smaller (from 25mm x 15 mm x 0.8 mm to 12.3mm x 8.8mm x 0.7mm).


Besides, Nano-SIM playing cards nonetheless take up numerous house in digital gadgets. In sensible wearable gadgets corresponding to watches and glasses, bodily SIM playing cards are much more of a “huge Mac”. With a view to deal with this dilemma, in early 2016, the GSM Affiliation launched a programmable SIM card, the eSIM card, primarily for wearable gadgets, IoT, and flat gentle gadgets. In contrast to a bodily SIM card, eSIM may be instantly built-in into the system. It eliminates the necessity to reserve a card slot within the terminal system and reduces the problems of poor contact, simple loss, and injury. Not solely that, customers can obtain the quantity equivalent to the eSIM remotely. This lets you swap operators at will and reduces the safety threat of SIM card duplication.

To some extent, eSIM and iSIM share comparable traits. The most important distinction is their built-in technique – an eSIM is a devoted chip linked to the processor, however an iSIM is embedded in the primary SoC. The iSIM has the next degree of integration than the eSIM. Little question, eSIM, and iSIM have extra benefits than bodily SIM playing cards. Nonetheless, from the attitude of the applying, eSIM, and iSIM is just not excessive, particularly the latter.

Recreation between chip producers and operators

iSIM complies with GSMA (International System for Cellular Communications Affiliation) specs and permits for elevated reminiscence capability, enhanced efficiency, and better system integration. With the introduction of iSIM playing cards, as an alternative of requiring a separate chip like eSIMs, it eliminates the house for SIM providers and embeds it on the processor.


As of now, not many smartphones use eSIM expertise. Nonetheless, Apple and Samsung have an excellent variety of gadgets with eSIM expertise. There are extra smartwatches, tablets, and PCs with eSIM than smartphones.

To comprehend the applying of iSIM expertise, chip producers, cell phone producers, and operators should cooperate. For chip producers, they’re actively selling the implementation of this expertise. Cell phone producers imagine that the benefits of decreasing the inner house taken by the bodily SIM are greater than the disadvantages. Nonetheless, for the operators, iSIM will encounter vital limitations.

If iSIM goes industrial and chip producers combine SIM card features into SoCs, customers can swap operators at will. Which means that operators will naturally lose the power to manage customers and site visitors. Clearly, this can be a situation that operators don’t need to see. Operators will do all the pieces doable to make it possible for iSIM doesn’t materialize.



The development of any technological improvement by no means stops for the pursuits of sure teams. Based on Counterpoint Analysis knowledge, by 2025, almost 5 billion shopper digital merchandise will assist iSIM. The primary software gadgets can be smartphones, smartwatches, CPE (buyer gear), and many others.

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