GSMA looks at remote provisioning of SIMs for M2M devices

The GSM Association (GSMA) formed a mobile operators group that will look at creating SIMs capable of being embedded and remotely activated in electronic devices--a move that has the vision of bringing in a new era of machine-to-machine communications by providing automatic connectivity that doesn't require end-user intervention to a host of devices ranging from cameras to smart meters.

The group will include AT&T (NYSE:T), China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone along with SIM vendors. The group aims to study the market and technical requirements required to evolve current SIM provisioning processes to create an embedded version capable of being remotely activated.  

The group is expected to complete their evaluation by January, issuing technical suggestions around openness and standardization, the GSMA said. Such devices could come to market by 2012.

Ian Fogg, principal analyst with Forrester Research, told that connected devices will require changes in the SIM. "If you start embedding SIMs within devices you need a different way of provisioning and maintaining devices that contain these technologies, rather than the current access offered by mobile phone SIMs," he said.

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