Friday, 01 March 2019 08:39

China making progress on eSIM adoption, says GSMA

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China making progress on eSIM adoption, says GSMA Pixabay

The mobile operators trade body, GSM Association, has found that significant progress has been made by Chinese mobile vendors, operators and manufacturers in adopting remote SIM provisioning and eSIM technologies.

A report titled eSIM in China: the road ahead, prepared by the GSMA along with the Telecommunication Terminal Industry Forum Association (TAF), obtained data from China's three mobile operators — China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom — and also other firms in the mobile ecosystem.

The report found that smartwatches dominated eSIM deployments with smartphones playing catch-up. eSIM smartwatches were still a small percentage of the total smartwatches sold and operators were thus allowing consumers to use their smartwatches as secondary devices on a single mobile subscription to boost take-up.

Though Chinese companies have been making smartphones with eSIM functionality for the rest of the world, the domestic market has not formally adopted eSIM technology which will need formal regulation and new manufacturing, logistical and supply chain processes. Globally, more than 50 mobile operators support the technology.

“In China and around the world, the huge adoption of eSIM technologies has been underpinned by the GSMA’s common and interoperable specification that is reducing fragmentation and delivering a consistent consumer experience,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer, GSMA.

“From consumer electronics to automotive we are seeing a diverse array of products hitting the market utilising the benefits of connectivity and bringing consumers choice.”

The report highlights efforts in China to create a favourable regulatory framework for eSIM deployments.

It said: "Streamlining procedures and setting clear, unified rules on eSIM requirements for consumer and industrial devices is critical to accelerating the deployment of eSIM technology and its market adoption.

"This includes credentials management, designation of root certificate issuing and security and cross-border interoperability. The report also recommends that the government should facilitate trials of eSIM services, particularly in the nascent industrial IoT to promote an open eSIM ecosystem."

“China has a unique mobile market, both in terms of size and revenue growth and leadership in mobile developments and tech innovation has reached unprecedented levels," said Xie Yi, chairman of TAF.

"China is increasingly demonstrating its technological innovation and is emerging as a leading global market to test and implement new technologies.

“Promoting the steady development of eSIM in China will help support developments in both the consumer and industrial markets. Based on the premise of national conditions, TAF has been committed to all parties in the joint industrial chain and cooperation with the GSMA, to make the best efforts to this end.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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