Two months after cellular industry association SIMalliance called for a new and more secure 5G SIM card standard, digital security company Gemalto announced today that it has developed the world’s first 5G SIM — a more secure solution that will roll out in the first half of this year.
Recognizing both increasing and evolving types of cellular devices, the 5G SIM will be offered in three form factors: a traditional removable SIM card, an embedded SIM (eSIM), and a machine-to-machine (M2M) SIM designed for internet of things devices. All of the versions will support both the 3GPP’s specifications and SIMalliance’s recommendations for 5G SIMs, enabling Gemalto to be the first to offer a solution deemed capable of securing 5G network access.
“The 5G SIM provides the foundation of trust in this next generation mobile network for operators and other stakeholders in the eco-system,” said Gemalto EVP Emmanuel Unguran. “It will help operators unleash the full 5G potential, maximize their network investments, and simplify new service deployment with full backward compatibility to previous 3G/4G technology.”
Compared with earlier SIMs, the 5G SIM will support seamless global 5G roaming, encrypt and fully anonymize subscriber identities, and increase security against hacks and data breaches. Due to the anonymizing feature, the new SIM is expected to reduce if not eliminate unauthorized location tracking, as well as ensure carrier compliance with personal data privacy laws.
Though the earliest 5G devices are already shipping — a reality SIMalliance acknowledged last year by differentiating between “transitional” and “recommended” 5G SIMs — the new cards will be found in upcoming devices based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 platform.
“Qualcomm Technologies has a longstanding relationship with Gemalto focused on delivering mobile solutions with robust security,” said Qualcomm senior director Gautam Sheoran. “We are now extending this collaboration to allow OEMs to easily develop exciting 5G devices with strong security, using both Gemalto 5G SIM and our next generation flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform to pave the path for 5G commercialization in 2019.”
Gemalto expects that 5G SIMs will be used to manage over 1.5 billion 5G subscriptions by 2024, across mobile broadband, large-scale IoT installations, and other applications. SIMalliance has advocated for a single 5G SIM standard to guarantee an optimally secure and service experience to customers.