Simless Accelerates Development of Secure Software eSIM

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Software eSIM is a cost-effective alternative to hardware eSIM

"A hardware eSIM simply shifts the cost from Operator to Manufacturer - a more cost effective and flexible solution is required if eSIM is going to scale." Michael Clegg, former Netgear SVP

Simless, Inc., an Atlanta-based telecommunications startup, founded by former AT&T and Deutsche Telekom employees, has rapidly accelerated the development of a reprogrammable SIM card that is stored securely in software on a cellular device.

The hardware eSIM chip is currently undergoing standardization by the GSMA and ETSI. In fact, the Financial Times reported on July 16th that Apple and Samsung are working with several cellular network operators on adopting these chips into their next generation devices to be available in 2016.

In March of 2015, Simless introduced the world's first hardware eSIM reference phone at Mobile World Congress. Following the release, Simless held several conversations with multiple device manufacturers who outlined the main challenge in adopting a hardware eSIM: Cost. Historically, the cost of SIM cards has been borne by cellular network operators. With a hardware eSIM, the $2-$5 cost would be borne by device manufacturers. For producers of low-margin connected consumer electronic devices this additional cost is prohibitive; especially given that there will be a period of overlap where devices will have to support both a traditional removable SIM and an eSIM, until all cellular network operators are on board with the eSIM concept. This could take years, especially in emerging markets.

“While possible in high-end devices from Apple and Samsung, adding $2-$5 to a BOM is prohibitive for many OEMs especially as entry level smartphones become ubiquitous and globally deployed, and as Operators seek to add IOT devices with cellular modems and SIMs" said Michael Clegg, former GM & SVP at NETGEAR and a Simless, Inc. advisor. "A hardware eSIM simply shifts the cost from Operator to Manufacturer - a more cost effective and flexible solution is required if eSIM is going to scale.”

Simless has already developed an affordable hardware eSIM by partnering with a major semiconductor company. However, based on its conversations with device manufacturers, it has decided to offer manufacturers and cellular network operators a software eSIM in order to address cost concerns. In the Simless software eSIM the operating system of the chip is directly integrated into a secure area of the main processor of the device i.e. System-on-Chip (SoC). This makes the SoC effectively a “Simless SoC” or “S2oC”.

A software-based approach has many benefits, both to manufacturers and cellular network operators. First, it addresses the cost concerns of manufacturers, who with a hardware eSIM would have to source a new component and engineer it into their devices. A software eSIM avoids this issue. “We’re talking about the difference between pennies and dollars on a per-unit basis, not to mention the effort required to redesign their devices”, said Sam King, Co-Founder & CEO of Simless, Inc. Second, existing devices can be updated via a firmware upgrade to be able to support a software eSIM. Instead of starting with a handful of high-end devices in late 2016, a software eSIM could be globally mass market available in early 2016.

Simless has filed several patent applications to cover its core technology and has built a robust security framework to give carriers confidence to adopt software eSIM technology. A software eSIM lends itself especially well to emerging devices supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) – think connected traffic lights, smart meters, etc., which rely on low-cost connected sensors to operate. A hardware eSIM or even a regular SIM card represents a substantial portion of the cost of these devices, which will account for a significant share of the over 26 billion connected devices forecasted to be online by 2020, according to Ericsson.

Traditional SIM card companies have been reticent to introduce Software SIM technology, as it would cannibalize their existing business. “Simless, Inc. has a different cost-structure. We are moving the factory of SIM cards to the cloud and in doing so are offering manufacturers and cellular network operators a choice as to how they bring connectivity to consumers and enterprises” said Ismaila “Izzo” Wane, Co-Founder, President & CTO of Simless, Inc.

Simless is presently entering into agreements with various manufactures and carriers. The company plans also to join industry associations such as ETSI and GSMA to help drive the standardization of software eSIM technology.

For additional information please contact Simless by e-mail at: or 1.888.952.3653.

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Sam King
since: 11/2014
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