How Deutsche Telekom is ready to ride the eSIM wave

German Mobile Network Operator, Deutsche Telekom (DT), has long been a leading exponent of embedded SIM (eSIM) technology. Running mobile operations in more than a dozen countries, the multinational operator is increasingly prioritising eSIM. “What we have done is to configure mobile devices as eSIM-first devices in our CRM systems,” says Markus Kröber. He’s the Squad Lead of Smartcard Engineering at Deutsche Telekom Technik and delegate in GSMA’s eSIM working groups. “If the customer needs a new SIM, they will get an eSIM instead of a physical SIM. We did not do this for all device models so far. But we will go down that road.”

The easiest solution for customers

As it continues to transition away from plastic SIM cards, DT is making extensive use of the GSMA eSIM Discovery service to get new connections up and running. Whether they are roaming, customers’ new devices, or new subscriptions. It’s the fully digital and seamless eSIM remote provisioning solution for handsets and IoT devices, that’s been specified by the industry.

We have always been in favour of such a discovery solution,” explains Markus Kröber. He notes that it offers a much better end-user experience than alternatives that rely on a manual scan of a QR code. “We have always said that a simple process for the customer without forcing them to scan anything, which they may have lost, or are not really aware of, is the easiest way. And we are promoting this.

eSIM Discovery becomes eSIM Direct for DT

In Germany, DT has introduced a brand name for this process: eSIM Direct. “The Discovery service is referred to in all communications as eSIM Direct,” says Markus Kröber. “And we have implemented this for nearly every process, starting from the point of sale. Here the shop agent scans the EID to channel it through the IT systems, where it goes to the SM DP+ partners. Then it’s connected to the GSMA Discovery service.

From the end-user’s perspective, eSIM Direct is very straightforward. The operator triggers the activation of the eSIM profile. So, the customer only has to confirm (by pressing “OK” on his or her device) to receive the eSIM profile, which contains all the information needed to use a mobile network in the Deutsche Telekom group.

Since many of the devices used by DT’s customers are distributed by third parties and are unlikely to be shipped with its app pre-installed, eSIM Direct becomes even more crucial. “Currently, we assume that the mobile operator’s app is not present on new devices. So we have to use other processes for downloading the eSIM profile,” Markus Kröber explains.

Why Discovery is so important for the future

The rising adoption of consumer IoT is another driver of demand for eSIMs. Such as connected wearables, tracking devices and vehicles. Markus Kröber expects to see this sector expand, as large consumer goods manufacturers with substantial resources begin to compete with the smaller pioneers. These big players have already made extensive use of conventional machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity in the B2B space. Now they are looking to deploy B2B2C business models in which they bundle IoT connectivity into consumer propositions. “What we are seeing now is that the M2M players are adopting the consumer eSIM architecture. Which big players can afford to do,” he adds.

Where GSMA eSIM Discovery comes in, as Markus Kröber explains, is that it makes it easier to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices without a display. “Of course, if you do not have a user interface, for instance, with the IoT, the Discovery service is also the perfect process because it doesn’t require anybody to push a button or do something.

How does GSMA eSIM Discovery work?

GSMA eSIM Discovery uses the eUICC Identifier (EID) to match the eSIM with the owner’s purchased network operator profile. The eSIM device then seamlessly acquires the eSIM profile from the correct operator, thereby activating cellular connectivity. The GSMA works with Deutsche Telekom through their SM DP+ providers to provide the discovery service to Deutsche Telekom’s customers.

If you’d like to find out more about GSMA eSIM Discovery, please contact our team here.