NTT DOCOMO offers software programmable embedded SIM

NTT DOCOMO offers software programmable embedded SIM

August 8, 2014


In June 2014, Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO announced the first embedded Subscription Identity Module (SIM) in Japan. The embedded SIM is software programmable and can register phone numbers and mobile data in the form of subscriber identities of mobile network–connected, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) devices used within a range of vertical sectors. NTT DOCOMO highlighted the embedded SIM’s ability to load profiles of subscriber identities of numerous mobile operators across the world as a key benefit to M2M enterprises that operate transnationally.

NTT DOCOMO is one of many organisations, including AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Morpho (Safran), Oberthur Technologies, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor and Vodafone, that support the GSMA’s Embedded SIM specification, launched in December 2013, to enable the remote “over the air” management of the embedded SIM in M2M devices.

Adoption of the GSMA Embedded SIM specification can help to foster growth and lower operational costs in the M2M market globally, thanks to this specification’s establishment of a common, global and interoperable Embedded SIM remote provisioning architecture. The GSMA specification helps operators to tackle the complications of having to design and implement their own techniques for remote provisioning of SIMs so they can provide scalable, reliable and secure connectivity for M2M connected devices.

The use of traditional SIMs – which require insertion and replacement – in M2M devices for transportation, utility metering or other applications can present challenges, as M2M devices are often remotely located and hermetically sealed. A specific non-removable SIM is embedded into the M2M device at the point of manufacture and can later be remotely provisioned with the subscription profile of the operator providing the connectivity, which can be subsequently changed or modified over the air. This eliminates the need to intervene to replace SIM cards over the lifetime of each M2M product, reducing ongoing operational and logistical costs.

The GSMA Connected Living Programme is focused on working with the wider M2M ecosystem to ensure that all deployments of embedded SIM solutions are compliant with the GSMA Embedded SIM specification. To find out more and get involved in the Connected Living program, email us at

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