The eSIM IoT Opportunity for MNOs

The eSIM IoT Opportunity for MNOs

The newly established eSIM Internet of Things (IoT) technical specifications (GSMA SGP.32) make eSIM and iSIM (integrated SIM) IoT applications more accessible and feasible for enterprises. Mobile network operators equipped with a capable IoT remote provisioning platform and other eSIM management solutions can expand their services to enterprises and organisations.

Opportunities for MNOs

eSIM IoT represents an excellent opportunity for MNOs to activate revenue streams from enterprises and institutional clients. MNOs can:

  • Provide connectivity solutions to the eSIM IoT devices and systems of factories, automotive plants, upstream oil companies, logistics and fulfilment services providers, and other similar enterprises
  • Partner with or serve the needs of other players in the telecommunications space, such as mobile network mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs), and mobile virtual network aggregators (MVNAs)
  • Orchestrate IoT deployments for enterprises
  • Engineer the eSIM IoT backbone of smart cities, smart factories, and other smart-ecosystem deployments for governments, institutions and organisations

Why the eSIM IoT Architecture Matters

There are three GSMA architectures for eSIM: consumer, machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT. Each has its own standards and specifications.

The Consumer Standard

The consumer standard is for consumer devices like smartphones. It operates on a pull model, where the consumer devices – through a Local Profile Assistant (LPA) that interfaces with the eSIM provisioning platform – pull eSIM profiles and store them in the eUICC, a software embedded on the eSIM chip.

The Subscription Management Data Preparation Plus (SM-DP+) and Discovery Service (SM-DS) comprise the remote SIM provisioning or RSP platform. The former creates, downloads and remotely manages operator profiles for consumers. The latter holds a list of profiles available to devices, automatically directing them to the correct SM-DP+ address and enabling the one-click eSIM activation experience for end users.

The consumer RSP architecture combines the data preparation and secure routing functions in SM-DP+, negating the need for complex integrations. However, it requires granular end-user control, which constrained machine-to-machine devices lack.

The M2M Standard

The M2M standard operates on a push model and is designed for M2M device connections. The push model works even on constrained devices.

The problem with M2M is the separation of the data preparation (SM-DP) and secure routing (SM-SR) functions. This means eSIM M2M deployments require deep and complex integrations between OEMs and MNOs, making them difficult, inflexible and costly.

The IoT Standard

The IoT standard combines the strengths of the consumer and M2M standards. Using SM-DP+ with an eSIM IoT Remote Manager (eIM), the IoT implementation can push profiles to constrained devices and allow non-constrained devices to download them.

Thus, the IoT standard does not require complex integrations like the consumer standard. At the same time, it works with constrained machine-to-machine devices, like the M2M standard.

Taking Advantage of eSIM IoT: What MNOs Need

Juniper Research predicts global eSIM IoT connections will grow from 3.4 billion in 2024 to 6.5 billion in 2028. That’s a forecasted increase of 3.1 billion connections. What do MNOs need to take advantage of this expected boom in eSIM IoT connections?

1.     Unrestricted eSIM IoT Remote Provisioning Platform

MNOs require an unrestricted eSIM IoT remote provisioning platform. They need a provisioning platform for:

  • Channel management
  • Profile development
  • Profile management
  • Order management
  • Profile delivery
  • Provision of value-added services (VAS)
  • eSIM management over its lifecycle

MNOs must also provide connectivity management solutions, such as custom applets, automated profile swapping, and bootstrap and operational profiles, aside from subscription management and remote SIM provisioning services.

2.     eSIM IoT Remote Manager

The eSIM IoT remote manager (eIM) is an essential feature of the IoT standard and specifications. It’s software that serves as a proxy for IoT devices, particularly those with constrained connectivity, memory, power, bit rate, bandwidth, and interface. The eIM enables seamless remote management of IoT devices and profiles.

In other words, the eIM is an interface program that allows organisations to easily and readily download and manage profiles for their IoT sensors, metres and other devices, including those incapable of doing it themselves.

3.     IoT Modules

eSIM IOT implementations require SIM/eSIM IoT modules embedded or installed in IoT devices. MNOs can work with OEMs to provide a ready-made, plug-and-play ecosystem for IoT deployments.

4.     eSIM Orchestration Platform

MNOs can seize eSIM IoT opportunities more rapidly and seamlessly with a unified dashboard, multi-tenant, interoperable, and cloud-based eSIM orchestration platform. With a multi-tenant eSIM hub, MNOs can become providers of turnkey eSIM IoT solutions. They can:

  • Provide powerful, custom services
  • Conveniently and efficiently manage all eSIM sites, clients, vendors, and channels
  • Readily integrate distinct systems (e.g., entitlement servers)
  • Manage and have visibility over the lifecycle of all eSIM devices and connections across the consumer, M2M and IoT sectors from a unified interface
  • Provide self-service functionalities to enterprise, OEM, MVNx (e.g., MVNO, MVNA, MVNE), and institutional eSIM clients for convenience and efficiency

The eSIM IoT Opportunity

The eSIM IoT makes eSIM more accessible to enterprises and organisations. MNOs can take advantage by providing eSIM connectivity, eSIM IoT solutions or orchestrating eSIM IoT deployments.