Gemalto readies its 5G SIM card

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The 5G SIM card will enhance mobile broadband, provide end-to-end subscriber identities and enable seamless IOT applications.
The 5G SIM card will enhance mobile broadband, provide end-to-end subscriber identities and enable seamless IOT applications.

Digital security firm Gemalto is preparing for the launch of its 5G SIM card, which will be made available to local and global telecoms operators in the first half of 2019.

According to Gemalto, the 5G SIM card will be available in all form factors: a removable SIM, an eSIM (embedded in the mobile device) and a M2M SIM (machine-to-machine SIM for Internet of things applications), ensuring it can be used across all smartphone devices.

The Ericsson Mobility Report predicts that by 2024, 5G network coverage will reach 40% of the global population, and will account for 1.5 billion subscriptions.

While some local operators like Vodacom and MTN have been trialling 5G for months now, experts say SA has a number of hurdles it must clear before 5G becomes a reality in the country.

Research firm Frost & Sullivan notes that completing digital migration, providing direction on SA Connect and licensing 4G spectrum are some of the plans that need to be fully implemented before SA's 5G dream can be realised.

However, Gemalto says the launch of 5G in SA is imminent and the company has been working closely with key industry stakeholders in its development of the 5G SIM card, through standardisation, prototyping and testing.

Key use cases of the new SIM card include enhanced mobile broadband, enabling seamless Internet of things (IOT) applications, and helping operators simplify new service deployments and unleash 5G's full potential.

"Local mobile operators have been making trials of their 5G networks for a while now. In time for launch, and as part of the launch programme, 5G technology on the network side will be made available to benefit from additional security protecting the data integrity of the users and devices," says Sherry Zameer, senior VP of IOT solutions for the CISMEA region at Gemalto.

"The 5G SIM card will provide additional security for all stakeholders in the ecosystem and help mobile operators to utilise the full return on investment potential of their 5G investments. As more stakeholders are part of the service delivery process in a 5G ecosystem, strong security will be required to create a trusted relationship with the service provider and the end clients."

Gemalto says it will be among the first companies in the world to launch the 5G SIM, which it notes is compliant with the latest ETSI 3GPPspecifications and recommendations set out by non-profit security, identity and mobility organisation, SIMalliance.

Additional benefits of the new 5G SIM, according to Gemalto, include full anonymisation of end-to-end subscriber identities thanks to onboard identity encryption; ensuring mobile operators comply with regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information Act and the General Data Protection Regulation.

"In addition, trusted environment resilience will help operators secure the entire SIM lifecycle, eliminating exposure to hacking attacks and accidental breaches. A seamless 5G roaming experience is also supported, maximising revenues and enhancing the customer experience," notes Gemalto.

The 5G SIM has been developed in partnership with Qualcomm Technologies, which has a longstanding relationship with Gemalto.

"Qualcomm Technologies' relationship with Gemalto is focused on delivering mobile solutions with robust security," says Gautam Sheoran, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies.

"We are now extending this collaboration to allow original equipment manufacturers to easily develop exciting 5G devices with strong security, using both Gemalto 5G SIM and our next-generation flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platform to pave the path for 5G commercialisation in 2019."

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