In the mobile sector and the IoT, eSIMs are about to become very important items. Before any mobile device can perform its standard tasks, it must first log onto the cellular network by sending the credentials and other information, such as authentication keys, identification numbers, and country codes, required for network access. The required circuitry inside the mobile device is called an embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC) or, more commonly, an embedded SIM (eSIM). Being part of the device itself, there’s no extra card or accessory to worry about, and, because an eSIM can be reconfigured when the cellular carrier changes, the format is more flexible from a user standpoint, too.
However, because eSIMs deal with confidential information, such as personal identities and subscriber access codes, there are concerns about security. It’s important that everyone in the mobile sector – including consumers – is certain that the eSIM ecosystem is secure.
NXP joins GSMA as associate member: Ensure trustworthiness of eSIMs all over the world
The GSMA, the world’s leading wireless industry representative body, has defined a set of criteria that help reassure everyone that a given eSIM is trustworthy and reliable. The GSMA criteria address hardware security (meaning the security of the eSIM itself), as well as the software the eSIM runs.
The GSMA has also defined criteria for the production environment and process security within its Security Accreditation Scheme (SAS-UP), to ensure that eSIMs are manufactured most securely.
NXP recently joined the GSMA as an associate member and underwent the SAS-UP certification process. This allows the company to join existing working groups and to contribute to the technical specification of eSIM products. Final sites certification will enable mass production readiness.
Groundbreaking eSIM Solution: SN100U
The certification process applies to our recently introduced SN100U product. As announced during Mobile World Congress 2018, the SN100U is the world’s first, single-die chipset featuring an embedded Secure Element (SE), Near Field Communications (NFC), and eSIM for added advanced functionality, cellular connectivity, and security. With its multiple interfaces and secure software features, the SN100U is designed to make it easier and more cost-effective for OEMs to integrate demanding applications such as mobile transit, smart access control and contactless payments. Moreover it brings the best security level for MNO credentials in consumer cellular-connected devices. The SN100U delivers security and convenience, making it possible for consumers to do things like stay on a call while making NFC mobile payments seamlessly in parallel. Compared to existing solutions, the SN100U occupies up to 30 percent less surface area on printed circuit boards, and enable exceptionally low power consumption.
Why NXP isn’t following someone else’s blueprint
Instead of assembling a group of third-party solutions, we developed our own unique combination of hardware and software for eSIMs. Not only have we optimized each portion of the eSIM solution to create a more integrated, more efficient whole, we’ve also worked along the complete production chain – from initial manufacture and the issuance of personalized credentials to the secure package that’s loaded onto the IC – to ensure compliance with the latest GSMA standards. Customers benefit from a single point of contact, while NXP stays in full control of the process. The initial provisional GSMA certificate granted for our Austrian/Gratkorn site is the first indication that we’ve succeeded in meeting our goal.
With NXP as a member of the GSMA and a participant in the SAS-UP certification process, MNOs and OEMs can be certain that the SN100U is verified compliant for manufacturing and sensitive credentials commissioning.