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Qualcomm Partners With Thales to Unveil iSIM for Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC as eSIM Alternative

Qualcomm launched Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC in November last year. Now, the California-based chip maker in association with Thales has announced the first commercially deployable iSIM (integrate SIM) functionality on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset at MWC 2023. The iSIM solution will integrate SIM functionality directly into a smartphone’s processor and allows devices to connect to a cellular network without a traditional SIM card or even an embedded SIM (eSIM). The iSIM is compliant with the GSMA Remote SIM Provisioning standard and it is claimed to increase efficiency and reduce space constraints as well as the cost to device makers.

The chipmaker via a press release on Wednesday announced the certification of the “world’s first commercially deployable iSIM” on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. This permits a smartphone’s main processor to function like a SIM card. The company has partnered with Thales to embed the new feature into the mobile platform.

The iSIM is compliant with the GSMA Remote SIM Provisioning standard and it promises cyber-protection and flexible operation. The inbuild iSIM will be identical to the standalone SIM card or an eSIM. Being non-removable, it is expected to assist handset makers to save space and slash build and supply chain costs. The hardware may also benefit from the removal of the SIM card slot.

“Alongside the increasingly popular eSIM, the Thales 5G iSIM gives device makers and mobile operators even greater freedom to offer their customers effortless over-the-air connectivity, and more exciting and accessible product designs,” said Guillaume Lafaix, Vice President of embedded products, Thales Mobile and Connectivity Solutions.

Qualcomm, citing a research by Kaleido Intelligence, forecasts that global iSIM shipments will touch 300 million by 2027. This would represent 19 percent of all eSIM shipments. “iSIM increases the opportunity to proliferate cellular capability and satisfies a wider and more diverse market”, said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer, GSMA.

Currently, major smartphone makers like Apple, Google and Samsung are pushing for eSIM technology to get rid of physical SIM cards. The eSIM solution allows consumers to switch wireless providers without having to insert a new physical SIM card.

Qualcomm is yet to confirm the timeline for the iSIM rollout. The latest high-end smartphones powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC including the Samsung Galaxy S23 series or OnePlus 11 5G could be able to use the iSIM functionality initially.

After facing headwinds in India last year, Xiaomi is all set to take on the competition in 2023. What are the company’s plans for its wide product portfolio and its Make in India commitment in the country? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2023 hub.

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