ETSI Releases Specification for Virtual SIM
Thursday, October 20, 2022 | Comments

New specifications released today by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) will enable multiple accounts and identities to exist in the same smartphone handset without needing any physical subscriber identity modules (SIMs) to be within the device.

The mobile telecom industry has been facing an increasing demand for applications running on mobile devices like banking, payments, transport and identity for some time. These new specifications address this demand by adding the possibility to host and address several virtual ‘secure elements’ into the same hardware component. This allows multiple virtual secure elements to coexist logically separated, whilst having the ability to be addressed independently through the same physical interface.

“We’re so excited to release new versions of several UICC Release 17 specifications that can benefit so many users,” said Denis Praca, chair of the Secure Elements Technologies (SET) group at ETSI. “This is a breakthrough for end users, who will easily be able to use multiple services and for service providers to deploy their applications on a single mobile device, with the benefit of the long term recognized security provided by the UICC.”

This should also remove the need for smartphones to contain more than one physical SIM to host two different accounts on the same device. ETSI’s technologies, referenced by GSMA e-SIM specifications, have eradicated the need to have a physical SIM, allowing users and device makers to efficiently manage multiple accounts securely.

The SET group develops and maintains specifications for the secure element (SE) — the universal integrated circuit card (UICC) or the service switching point (SSP) — and its interfaces with the outside world for use in telecommunication systems including the internet of things (IoT) and other industry sectors.

“The next stage for us at ETSI, is to get mobile network operators and secure application providers to come forward and work with us to creates the applications that will run on the ETSI developed platform,” Praca said.

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