Streamlining the SIM lifecycle

from Streamlining the SIM lifecycle
by Anasia D’mello

We know that demand for mobile services is growing. This opens up an expanding range of opportunities for mobile operators to exploit. But, says Eric Hatton of Evolving Systems, it comes with a challenge: CSPs have to find more efficient, less costly methods of handling growth and, specifically, they have to reduce the spiralling costs of managing the SIM lifecycle end-to-end, at the same time providing ‘subscriber intimacy’.

Achieving this isn’t easy. What’s required is a new digitalised, cost-effective approach to complete SIM lifecycle management from Ordering through to Activation, Provisioning, Sales and beyond. If such an approach can be realised, it will not only help mobile operators control and reduce the costs associated with MSISDN management but will also streamline network optimisation and SIM logistics processes while driving Net New Sales through digitalised opportunities and subscriber interactions.

e-SIM: The new challenge

With the recent emergence of e-SIM in particular, a new layer of complexity has been added to the CSP’s process management requirements which already demand the dynamic planning and maintaining of resources including MSISDN, IMSI, ICCID, IP Addresses, SIM Profiles and IMEIs. Global eSIM is already making a major impact in consumer IoT and M2M markets as this new generation of SIMs enable multiple mobile operators’ profiles to be generated, securely downloaded and provisioned over the air based upon GSMA’s Remote SIM Provisioning specifications. More and more operators are already deploying eSIM remote subscription management platforms as a result.

Because of this, there is an immediate need to align the network resources with eSIM profiles i.e. the phone will attach and download the profile and the network will need updating. This raises questions such as where the eSIM will attach on first use (a nominated single network or an MNO per country?) Volume is also a critical issue as each SIM will need an MSISDN and IMSI/network resource assuming it will possible to perform the activation using the network.

With the introduction of e-SIM we can also expect the number of SIM connections on networks to increase dramatically as operators bring low cost data plans to market. Consumers must be able to maintain their number on one network while data may be purchased on another, with support for multiple SIMs needed to maximise coverage. This being the case technologies that support Digital Subscriber Activation and Total Number Management (to manage resources for all the on-off connections as people switch to the cheapest data connection) will become increasingly important.

Traditional SIM: Still in play

At the same time e-SIMs are proliferating, the challenge of managing and leveraging traditional SIM resources isn’t going away. Driving sales of these resources remains important and, potentially, expensive because CSPs need to increase SIM supply while reducing costs and growing revenues at the same time. This can be done by deploying new upgrade tactics like self-service SIM swap, activating new services in real-time by assigning MSISDNs and other resources at the time of first use, designing new initiatives to encourage SIM reactivation, and more. The Internet of Things (IoT) and eSIM paradigms […]

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Original article: Streamlining the SIM lifecycle