Qualcomm announced last week at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that it has collaborated with Thales to certify its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC as the world’s first commercially deployable integrated SIM (iSIM) solution.
What is an iSIM?
An iSIM is a technology that embeds the SIM features directly into the device’s hardware, allowing it to connect to a cellular network without needing a physical SIM card or soldered eSIM module.
According to Qualcomm, this results in lower costs and improved efficiency for smartphone makers. It also allows manufacturers to create smaller, more compact devices.
Devices That Support iSIM
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC powers Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Series, the OnePlus 11, and the Xiaomi 13 Pro. However, Qualcomm didn’t announce which smartphones with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip will come with an integrated SIM.
But Thales has said that iSIMs will be first made available in high-end smartphones and eventually reach entry-level and mid-range smartphones, as well as wearables.
It’s also not clear yet if Qualcomm will bring its iSIM technology to its more affordable SoCs. “The emerging iSIM form factor complements existing SIM and eSIM designs,” the company emphasized.
Advantages of an iSIM
- iSIMs save space by eliminating the need for a separate component, allowing for the secure connection of smaller devices.
- iSIMs are more secure than eSIMs as they are enveloped within a secure and trusted area inside the device’s SoC.
- iSIMs draw less power compared to eSIMs, which makes them ideal for IoT devices
- Are compatible with 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.
- Offers increased flexibility for the user as they can connect to multiple carriers without changing the physical SIM card.
Qualcomm predicts that global iSIM shipments will reach 300 million by 2027, representing 19% of all eSIM shipments.
iSIMs are a welcome innovation as this could leave more room for bigger batteries and other components.