Qualcomm announces world’s first smartphone with iSIM (integrated SIM) technology

Qualcomm Technologies, Vodafone, and Thales together showcased the world’s first smartphone with working iSIM (integrated SIM) technology. The tech allows the SIM card to be embedded into the device’s processor, thus eliminating the need for a dedicated slot.

iSIM integrated SIM technology

The breakthrough paves the way for the commercialization of the technology, which if picks pace will not only kill the need for dedicated SIM card slots but also eSIMs — something that has seen a rather slow adoption by both carriers and smartphone OEMs alike.

The greatest advantages of the SIM and processor integration include better system integration, higher performance, and increased memory capacity. It also does away with the need for a separate chip that’s required by eSIMs.

Qualcomm announces first smartphone with iSIM integrated SIM technology

The iSIM conforms with GSMA specifications and delivers benefits for both consumers and telecom operators, further paving the way for mobile services to be integrated into devices other than mobile phones. This means that it would be far easier for laptops, tablets, VR platforms, IoT devices, wearables, and others to make use of LTE or 5G services.

The demonstration of the technology took place in Europe in Samsung’s R&D labs where it made use of Vodafone’s network, illustrating its readiness and efficiency in working with existing infrastructure.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G powered by the Snapdragon 888 5G was used and it ran the Thales iSIM operating system for the purpose.

Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president of Qualcomm Europe said: “iSIM solutions offer great opportunities to MNOs, free-up valuable space in devices for OEMs, and provide flexibility for device users to benefit from the full potential of 5G networks and experiences across a wide range of device categories. Some of the areas that will benefit most from iSIM technology include smartphones, mobile PCs, VR/XR headsets, and industrial IoT. By engineering the iSIM technology into the SoC, we are able to create additional support for OEMs in our Snapdragon platform.”

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