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NTT tests eSIM for M2M in Japan

Steve Rogerson
July 27, 2017

NTT this month started an embedded SIMs (eSIMs) proof of concept trial in Japan to confirm the connection and remote SIM provisioning for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) for M2M and consumers.
This follows NTT building an environment for the remote SIM provisioning on its MVNE platform in Hong Kong, and the environment compliant to GSMA architecture supports both M2M and consumer models.
The GSMA is promoting the standardisation of M2M and consumer models for eSIMs. NTT, aiming at the early implementation of its own M2M and consumer models, decided to launch its verification tests before other MVNOs in Japan.
A traditional SIM cards used to have a fixed SIM profile that operators and consumers could not rewrite or change during use. With eSIM technology, they can be remotely rewritten and changed for specific purposes without having to replace the SIM card.
The advantages include allowing access to preferred mobile networks when users travel overseas. OEMs can optimise logistics and stocking by manufacturing connected devices independent of the country of destination. And they reduce the influence of overseas communications restrictions, such as permanent roaming prohibitions.
With an eSIM equipped IoT device or modem, the operator issues a command to the subscription manager server to control the eSIM remotely. OTA (over-the-air) technology is used to download, change, activate, deactivate and remove the profile on eSIM.
The Japanese test is to confirm that the benefits of eSIM on the device can be provisioned in any country after they have been shipped and sold.
With the eSIM equipped consumer device, the consumer selects the mobile service or plan for the device to download the specific SIM profile, and then confirms if communications are successful. The consumer device could be a smart watch, mobile computer and so on.
NTT is conducting joint research with partners that offer embedded technologies that could be combined with eSIMs, for example, to realise secure communications.
Going forward, NTT will leverage know-how attained with the verification test to consider developing mobile services that support the global businesses of its customers.