Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's integrated SIM gets GSMA approval

Qualcomm carved out its massive slice of market share by integrating cellular connectivity tech into its Snapdragon processors, and the company appears to be going back to the well with its latest move. While eSIM technology is phasing out physical SIM cards across the industry with a dedicated hardware chip for storing encrypted network credentials, the San Diego-based firm is looking toward the next big thing: iSIM.

In collaboration with French technology company Thales, Qualcomm today announced it has received certification from the GSMA for a new integrated SIM, or iSIM, in its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processors. This is the world’s first commercially-available iSIM to be certified by the GSMA, an industry organization that develops and implements standards for cellular connectivity.

For the uninitiated, most mobile processors are actually SoCs, or systems on a chip. Rather than just serving as a CPU, these also contain peripherals like a graphics processor and a cellular radio bundled into one chip for size and battery efficiency. While eSIMs, or embedded subscriber identification modules, have been built into many flagship phones for years now, they exist as a separate chip that takes up valuable space. iSIM, or integrated SIM, adds eSIM functionality to the SoC and removes the need for a dedicated chip.

The milestone reached by the Thales and Qualcomm iSIM today was primarily security related, which is a key aspect for non-removable SIMs that can be imported and exported digitally. The design includes a Tamper Resistant Element in the SoC to house the iSIM credentials, and this helped it receive the GSMA’s security certification2 seal of approval.

The new iSIM, if shipped in a production device using a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, will function just the same as eSIM from a user perspective — in other words, you’ll just need a carrier that supports eSIM provisioning, then you’ll be able to add the iSIM using Android’s existing eSIM system. Qualcomm said it expects iSIM to quickly garner market share in the wake of this news — overall, the company thinks 300 million iSIM-enabled devices will be in use by 2027, which would represent 19% of global eSIM shipments.

Conclusion on Move over, eSIM — Qualcomm's adding iSIM to Snapdragon chips

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