Translated by
2019/09/05 11:27:07

ESIM (Embedded SIM) Electronic sim card

The module which is built in the tablet, the smartphone or the smartwatch and replacing a normal sim card. It allows to connect the device purchased in shop to a cellular network, without departing from a counter. It is not necessary to buy the physical SIM card – it is possible to select from the menu of the device the operator and a rate and to use services


SIM card

Main article SIM card Subscriber identity module


In Russia identification of mobile subscribers on the person and a voice for development of eSIM will appear

On September 24, 2019 it became known of creation in Russia of the system of remote identification of cellular subscribers on the person and a voice. It is supposed that this technology which is developed by Rostelecom will promote distribution of electronic eSIM SIM cards. Read more here.

The Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications permitted Tele2 to continue an experiment on issue of eSIM

According to the deputy minister communications Oleg Ivanov, Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications permitted the operator Tele2 to continue an experiment on issue of eSIM. It became known on September 20, 2019.

Tele2 began to issue to subscribers of eSIM in several Moscow salons since April 29, but next day suspended issue, explaining with the shortage of virtual SIM cards. On May 14 Tele2 at the request of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, "to permission of all questions concerning security", stopped issue of eSIM. Read more here.

The Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, FAS and FSB charged to work legalization of eSIM

At the beginning of September, 2019 it became known of what the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Maxim Akimov charged to the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, to FAS and  mobile operators to prepare offers on  the regulatory base for legalization in  Russia of technology of virtual sim cards of eSIM. Also  will involve FSB in discussion of a question.

Offers on change of the regulatory base need to be prepared by January 15, 2020. Specialists of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications should find out whether domestic cryptographic information security tools will be able to work on modern gadgets with eSIM. It is also necessary to register accurately rules of remote signing of the contract on communication services for subscribers and change of the password of a profile at transfer of number on other device.

The Deputy Prime Minister Akimov charged to work legalization of eSIM by January 15, 2020
The Deputy Prime Minister Akimov charged to work legalization of eSIM by January 15, 2020
We consider implementation of eSIM very important and timely, it will be the significant tool for development of the competition in the market, so, and for improvement of conditions for consumers — the head of department of regulation of communication and information technologies of FAS Elena Zayeva reported Kommersant.

According to her, basic approaches to regulation of eSIM should appear until the end of 2019.

Electronic "sim cards"  are not approved by operators of the big three. There consider, first, that the possibility of the subscriber at any time to change communication service provider will lead to competition aggravation and pricing wars. Secondly, the eSIM technology in the current configuration can threaten security of a mystery of communication for the Russian subscribers.

The Institute of Researches of the Internet (IRI) suggested to oblige producers of devices to place with an electronic sim card in Russia servers for subscriber profiles and cryptographic keys. Storage of these data abroad can raise questions at the Russian security services.

Specific parameters of use of eSIM in Russia (in particular, procedures of connection and shutdown of subscribers) still should be determined.[1]

The eSIM technology contradicts an initiative of implementation of domestic cryptography

Such conclusion is drawn in the report prepared by the Institute of Researches of the Internet (IRI) according to the results of meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, FSB, Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), VimpelCom, MTS, Megafon and NPK "Kriptonit" [2].

In particular, in the document it is said that if production of chips for eSIM and the platform of loading of profiles cryptographic keys of virtual SIM cards are placed abroad too, then and. Authors warn that in such conditions to guarantee their safety it is impossible, and it directly influences protection of a mystery of communication.

According to authors of the report, initialization of eSIM-chips should be performed in the Russian territory with execution of special conditions. They indicate the need of obligatory placement in the territory of the Russian Federation of servers for platforms of loading of the eSIM profile and equal access to technology of operators and producers. One more requirement – the interface of the smartphone should not allow to predetermine the choice by the subscriber of the operator or the platform.

According to the director of III of strategic projects Irina Levova, on June 3 the report should be sent to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Maxim Akimov.

Tele2 the first started eSIM in Russia

On April 29, 2019 Tele2 company reported that it within "Other rules" of the first of "Big Four" implemented eSIM on the network. The Tele2 project on use of eSIM completely meets safety requirements and legislations of the Russian Federation in the field of communication services provision. Read more here.

Tele2 and Rostelecom test eSIM

Tele2 and Rostelecom completed testing and are ready to implement eSim technology while operators of "the big three" oppose this technology. Experts consider that "big" operators consider eSim technology as "enemy" therefore, most likely, their interests will lobby at the legislative level in the form of a delay of adoption of the necessary regulatory base.

"The new technology expands connectivities of subscribers: they do not need to go to cellular shop of the operator, will be to provide access of the device to the Internet only enough. At this eSim will not break and it will not be lost as it can happen to the physical SIM card. The main requirement for connection security – subscriber identification – will be also observed, as well as in a case with the physical SIM card. The technology will also allow to use two and more SIM cards in devices which supported only one physical SIM card earlier (for example, devices based on iOS)", - the representative of the press service of Tele2 told the correspondent of ComNews.

Are sure of Tele2 that implementation of technology will positively affect telecom market as will contribute to the development of healthy competition and to work for the benefit of the client. "Also eSIM significantly facilitates transition to other operator on MNP. The technology is attractive to virtual operators that it does not tie clients to sales points of physical SIM cards. For example, Sber Mobayl and MVNO of Rostelecom are interested in legitimization and implementation of eSim. This technology removes many barriers to virtual operators, simplifies and reduces the price of customer acquisition"

MTS, Megafon and VimpelCom opposed eSIM. FSB supported their position

The Russian mobile operators MTS, Megafon and VimpelCom in April, 2019 at a meeting about perspectives of use of the built-in sim cards (eSIM) opposed implementation of this technology in Russia[3].

As told sources in the telecommunication market, the representative of the Center of data protection and special communication of Federal Security Service agreed with them. Department explains the position with difficulties using domestic cryptography in this product.

As for telecom operators, they are concerned by the fact that implementation of technology will lead to competition aggravation and reduction of revenue.

"eSIM saves operators from need to open cellular shops and to sell physical SIM cards. It will increase the competition from virtual mobile operators and will lower input barriers on the market to foreign vendors" — emphasized a source.

The top manager of other operator specified that eSIM will allow the foreign companies "deliver smartphones and other devices already with the contracts for communication" that can lead to outflow of money from Russia abroad. Other source added that implementation of eSIM can lead to pricing wars between telecommunication companies as subscribers will be able easily to change the operator.

"As a result operators will lose a considerable part of cash flows, and the prices of communication in Russia already some of the lowest in the world" — he noted.

The press service of MegaFon emphasized that "in commercial implementation of eSIM to display early as solutions on a number of questions are required".

According to the Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Oleg Ivanov, problem solving of security on work of eSIM in Russia should be a priority before implementation of this technology.


Growth of the world market of eSIM chips by 63% up to 364 million is Counterpoint

In 2018 364 million devices (including cars) with support of eSIM technology were produced worldwide that is 63% more, than the previous year. The data of analysts of Counterpoint Technology Market Research published on July 11 the 2019th demonstrate to it.

The largest producer of eSIM chips at the end of 2018 calls Gemalto company which delivered about 65 million chips. In close proximity to the leader Giesecke+Devrient (64.5 million) was located, and top-3 closed STMicroelectronics (57.5 million).

The largest producers of eSIM chips given to Counterpoint Technology Market Research
The largest producers of eSIM chips given to Counterpoint Technology Market Research

Experts explained leadership of Gemalto and Giesecke+Devrient with the extensive partner channel, certification of GSMA and creation of the complete solutions eSIM. 

According to the analyst of Counterpoint Satyajit Sinha, the growing penetration of eSIM will make a revolution in how connections in devices will be activated and be controlled.

The compact form factor of eSIM provides considerable reduction of space for producers of devices along with potentially higher security, reprogrammability and energy efficiency in comparison with traditional solutions for SIM cards. Thanks to eSIM operators can significantly reduce costs on distribution and activation of SIM cards and also to increase roaming revenues. Besides, eSIM offers huge advantages to consumers and corporate clients, allowing it is easy to select, activate, connect and manage connections on the devices — Sinha reported.

In a research it is specified that by July, 2019 the solutions eSIM are divided into three main categories:

  • program eUICC;
  • hardware MFF2;
  • hardware WLCSP.

The last two are certified by GSMA and conform to the standards of security stated in SGMA SGP.01/02/21/22 specifications

Gemalto builds in eSIM processors of Qualcomm

On May 28, 2018 the Gemalto company announced embedding of the SIM card in processors of Qualcomm. Thanks to this cooperation the eSIM technology will gain wide commercial circulation in the market as will find application in different notebooks, tablets and Always Connected computers.

Integration of a chip of the SIM cards directly in a single-crystal system became possible thanks to eSIM technology which, in addition to economy of space, provides some other advantages, including "seamless" access to LTE networks and networks of fifth generation in the future, prolongs time of independent electronics and creates a basis for development of new consumer applications in the field of online payments, authorization in cloud services and payments of travel by public transport.

The eSIM technology will gain wide commercial circulation in the market as will find application in different notebooks, tablets and Always Connected computers
The eSIM technology will gain wide commercial circulation in the market as will find application in different notebooks, tablets and Always Connected computers

In the press release it is noted that it is about the first implementation of eSIM in the processors developed for Always Connected PC and other similar consumer devices.

Gemalto says that at the expense of eSIM producers of electronics will be able to optimize expenses on purchase of component parts and the organization of deliveries as the solution allows to make setup of devices in time or after production.

The technology brings big benefit and to mobile operators: they will get access to large base of the devices connected to network and the platform for protection of services.

The first products Always Connected PC working under control of Qualcomm Snapdragon chips with the built-in Gemalto technology will appear in the market at the beginning of 2019.[4]