There is a widespread agreement among Chinese companies that eSIM adoption is crucial to driving the internet of things (IoT) market developments over the next five to 10 years, according to a GSMA report.
The report, “eSIM in China: the road ahead,” released by the global association of mobile operators, in partnership with the Telecommunication Terminal Industry Forum Association (TAF), highlights the significant progress made by Chinese mobile operators, vendors and manufacturers in adopting Remote SIM Provisioning and eSIM technologies.
According to the report, all three Chinese mobile operators – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – are developing eSIM solutions and have launched cellular M2M and IoT eSIM platforms as part of their overall IoT strategies.
But while eSIM adoption in the Chinese IoT market is still low compared to its long-term potential, the report sees China playing a key role in driving IoT developments globally.
“While cellular networks serve a minor share of total IoT connections – both in China and at the global level – the explosion of the IoT market provides significant room for growth in the cellular IoT space and, within it, eSIM adoption,” the report noted.
GSMA Intelligence projects nearly 2 billion licensed cellular IoT connections (cellular M2M and licensed LPWA) in China by 2025, a three-fold increase from year-end 2018 (around 700 million).
China is not only the largest IoT market in the world, but it is also a major global supplier of the technologies required to drive developments and growth in IoT, including sensors, microchips, and other components, according to the report.
“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, in a news release.
“From consumer electronics to automotive we are seeing a diverse array of products hitting the market utilizing the benefits of connectivity and bringing consumers choice,” he added.
Globally, over 50 mobile operators already support eSIM functionality in smartphones.
“China is increasingly demonstrating its technological innovation and is emerging as a leading global market to test and implement new technologies,” affirmed Xie Yi, Chairman of TAF. “Promoting the steady development of eSIM in China will help support developments in both the consumer and industrial markets.”
The report recommends streamlining procedures and setting clear, unified rules on eSIM requirements for consumer and industrial devices as they are 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,” it said.
The report also recommends that the government “facilitate trials of eSIM services, particularly in the nascent industrial IoT to promote an open eSIM ecosystem.”