Gareth Davies, Director, Public Relations, GSMA
The GSMA spoke at MVNO World Congress last week in Amsterdam on the impact of the GSMA’s Consumer SIM Specification on the growing MVNO consumer companion device sector. The event is now in its 15th year and attracts decision makers, buyers and sellers active in the MVNO market. This includes start-ups as well as established technology companies who come together to discuss the most pressing issues in the MVNO space such as Customer Experience Management, the global expansion of MVNOs and Service Differentiation.
Elisa Balestra, Senior Strategy Manager at the GSMA opened the afternoon session at the event’s ‘Global Connectivity and Remote SIM Provisioning Forum’ that included speakers from Microsoft, Orange, Lycamobile, SIMAlliance and ZTE amongst others. The Forum covered a number of different topics in the growing eSIM space and the implications for MVNOs such as embedding connectivity in devices, roaming and the role of the operator in this new world.
Elisa discussed the implications of the release a new global specification that has been developed by the GSMA with over 40 other mobile operators, MVNOs, SIM and Chipset makers, OEMs and industry players. The specification enables consumers to remotely activate the SIM embedded in a device such as a smart watch, fitness band or tablet. This new specification is the first output from the GSMA’s industry-backed Consumer Remote SIM Provisioning initiative that is designed to enable consumers to add a range of devices over-the-air to a mobile subscription and connect them securely to a mobile network. The solution has been designed to unify the industry behind an interoperable solution that avoids market fragmentation and the prospect of a number of incompatible proprietary solutions.
The solution is intended to be open, simple to use, interoperable and secure and provide more choice to consumers who are able to connect a whole range of diverse consumer orientated products. For examples customers will be able to select any subscription from any Operator for any device on a global basis, however, they will still be under the same contractual obligations as they were previously. The first phase of the specification focused on provisioning for a single profile for so called ‘companion’ devices with the second phase expected to focus on the provisioning of multiple profiles and cover all use cases and device types.
Elisa highlighted that the new specification opens up the door for companies to easily add connectivity to a whole new generation of devices such as wearables that are lighter and more compact and do not necessarily have the space required to accommodate a standard sized SIM but still need to retain their security benefits while connecting to the mobile network. She also highlighted the solution’s flexibility and its potential to serve high numbers of connected IoT devices. Samsung’s Gear 2 Smartwatch was the first product to be announced that utilises the specification with support from Vodafone and G&D with many more anticipated in the coming months.