ARM Holdings has announced a new solution called iSIM to integrate SIM functionality into connected devices - without requiring a traditional SIM card or even embedded SIM (eSIM). The new solution is aimed to not just help device makers reduce the sizes of future connected devices, but also to drop their prices - eventually expanding their use cases. However, this nowhere means that it's the time to give farewell to traditional SIM cards as the new chip design is primarily designed for devices enabling IoT (Internet of Things) applications and isn't something specific to smartphones or tablets.
The iSIM by ARM is compliant with GSMA Embedded SIM specifications to help device makers and service providers offer cellular connectivity on IoT devices. Since the new solution is available as a part for a single IoT SoC, which also includes an MCU and a cellular modem, it doesn't require any separate SIM card and full SIM functionality is available through ARM Kigen OS that is a low footprint, scalable software stack. "This technology will unlock new levels of cellular IoT integration, enabling new services, business models, and revenue streams for all cellular IoT ecosystem players," said Paul Williamson, Vice President and General Manager, IoT Device IP Line of Business, ARM Holdings.
It is indeed important to note that the cellular network delivery through the iSIM will be identical to what one can get from a standalone SIM card or an eSIM. This also means users will get a chance to move from one mobile network operator (MNO) to another. Having said that, it is the cost and the size of the hardware that are presumed to be majorly impacted once device manufacturers will start deploying the new solution.
Companies such as Apple and Samsung brought Nano-SIM cards to the limelight in the past. Likewise, Google added eSIM to its Pixel 2 family to take the journey of cellular connectivity on mobile devices to a next level. But it is unclear whether these companies will pick the latest ARM solution for their new mobile devices.
ARM has already started testing the iSIM with some industry partners and has expected to see the chip-based solution powering new connected devices sometime by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, we hope that the company would showcase the benefits of opting the new solution at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress next week.