Singapore to issue RFP for eSIM card trial

  • No need to switch out physical SIM cards if you change operator
  • Open standards crucial to fulfilling IoT potential, says minister
Singapore to issue RFP for eSIM card trial

THE Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will embark on a trial for over-the-air management of the SIM cards embedded in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which would allow device owners to switch operators without needing to change physical SIM cards.
In a statement, the IDA said it will be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to appoint a solutions provider to lead the trial for over-the-air mobile subscription management (OTA SM) of SIM cards.
This trial is part of Singapore’s efforts to develop open and interoperable IoT standards, according to Minister of Information and Communication Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (pic above).
“Developing open and interoperable standards is the crucial next step in unlocking the potential of the IoT.
“These standards will help to open up market access for industries to innovate and develop new IoT applications,” he said in his opening speech at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Standardisation Sector, Study Group 20 meeting in Singapore on Jan 18.
The ongoing Study Group 20 meetings revolve around the IoT and its applications, including smart cities and communities.
During the same speech, Yaacob had also announced that the IDA would be merged with the Media Development Authority to create the Info-communications and Media Development Authority (IMDA), while the technical roles of the two agencies will be spun off to create the Government Technology Organisation (GTO).
The IDA has already been working on IoT references, publishing the TR38 Technical Reference for Sensor Network for Smart Nation (Public Areas) and the TR40 Technical Reference for Sensor Network for Smart Nation (Homes).
“The IDA has also been working with industry and academia to develop connectivity and communication standards across various IoT devices,” Yaacob said.
“An example would be our Intelligent Transport Systems standards, which will enable more efficient and effective road traffic management, and support the eventual deployment of autonomous vehicles,” he added.
IDA recently issued a public consultation paper on the standards to be adopted for Singapore’s Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Open standards
The GSM Association (GSMA) updated its Remote Provisioning Architecture for Embedded UICC Technical Specification for OTA SM technology last June.
Adoption of these new GSMA specifications can help machine-to-machine (M2M) device operators switch mobile network operators (MNOs) without needing to switch out physical, embedded SIM (eSIM) cards.
“This trial will be conducted in partnership with PUB (Public Utilities Board), Singapore’s water agency, and will involve the mobile network operators,” Yaacob said.
“Such a standard will allow M2M businesses, and potentially consumers with eSIM-equipped smartphones, to switch network providers more flexibly,” he added.
The trial will help the IDA understand the technical capabilities and challenges of OTA SM, including the downloading, enabling, disabling, and deleting of an MNO’s profile on the eSIM, according to the agency.
MNOs will also be provided opportunities to understand the requirements and challenges in provisioning OTA SM.
Finally, the IDA said it hopes to identify the possible security challenges of implementing OTA SM.
The trial will be conducted using PUB’s M2M sensors, which will perform the daily routine operations of transmitting data or sending an SMS to its operations centre, and also perform OTA switches among participating MNOs, according to the IDA.
“Overall, the adoption of interoperable standards will lead to a more competitive environment for the deployment of M2M devices, by lowering costs and increasing the adoption of the IoT in different ways,” Yaacob said.
“Having common standards will also improve sensing capabilities across different IoT services, and enable IoT devices to communicate with each other more seamlessly.
“This could enable the easier introduction of new IoT applications such as smart homes that intelligently monitor and manage water and energy consumption, to help their owners save on utility bills,” he added.
Related Stories:
Singapore forms two new IT bodies, IDA and MDA merged
The future of the IoT in Singapore
Cutting the wire: IoT security Part I
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