Trends from MWC Barcelona 2024: Why They Matter

Loic Bonvarlet -
Trends from MWC Barcelona 2024 Why They Matter

MWC Barcelona 2024 again delivered four days of vibrant discussion and networking, convening industry leaders, and attendees across the mobile ecosystem to discuss trends. With over 90,000+ attendees, it showcased how the telecoms sector can grow as an ecosystem and leverage the opportunity within the convergence of many technologies now catalyzing digital transformation with IoT, AI, and ML – through devices, services, and experiences.

Throughout MWC Barcelona 2024, eSIM for IoT (SGP.32) remained a key area of discussion and demand. Other big technology disruptors, unsurprisingly, were AI, the evolving nature of Private networks, and the emergence of Satellite NTN connectivity.

In the days leading up to the show, GSMA Intelligence released the latest edition in the Global Mobile Trends series for 2024. This Global Mobile Trends report examines the most significant developments expected in 2024. These include 5G’s next wave, the impact of generative AI, 5G-Advanced, new experiences from 5G-enabled services such as FWA, the future of entertainment, cloud, and edge computing, private wireless, eSIM, the rise of satellites, and sustainability strategies.

This comprehensive report draws on GSMA Intelligence data, survey findings, and industry conversations to focus on the trends that matter most and what they mean for those in telecoms and beyond.

A survey informed GSMA’s flagship research report of 100 operators globally to understand their views on three main areas of eSIM. When operators speak to their enterprise customers about the benefits of eSIM for IoT deployments, security, and scalability are the eSIM benefits most often included in their conversations to drive interest in eSIM deployments.

There is a consensus among operators that enterprise demands for eSIM-enabled solutions will grow across most industries during 2024–2025, with Smart Cities leading the way with solutions such as eSIM-enabled smart metering. Looking further ahead, operators expect eSIM to account for 37% of the total cellular IoT connections by 2030, followed by the integrated SIM (iSIM) at 34% and the traditional removable SIM at 29%.

The survey result confirmed that managing large fleets of devices, subscription management, remote device patching, and device-to-cloud or chip-to-cloud security are top value indicators for enterprise adoption of eSIM.

Will 5G FWA Grow Beyond a Niche Service?

The increasing availability and affordability of 5G FWA CPE and innovative tariffs are boosting the outlook for FWA globally. This rings particularly true for areas with low fiber penetration, encompassing emerging markets as well as rural and remote regions in developed countries.

Kigen is proud to have supported this insightful report and made a copy of the eSIM trend report available along with the other key trends.

The eSIM Promise

The eSIM promise is to allow remote over-the-air changing of the connectivity provider to avoid carrier lock-in and give flexibility in choosing a provider based on the condition that suits the solution maker or OEM.

The new specification has decoupled this functionality from the Connectivity Service Provider function. The Solution Maker will have an eSIM Service Management Provider (eSMP) independent from their CSP. They can negotiate contracts with one or many CSPs and make the eSIMs available through their EIM server.

This is the most sought-after feature of eSIM from the perspective of Solution Makers. The spec will allow a standard mechanism for the ecosystem to work together, and the MNOs will be able to provide services more cost-effectively in eSIMs.

One of the most significant changes introduced by the IoT eSIM specification was the SIM card (eUICC) based IPA client (IPAe). The OEM independence it brings is enormous for the IoT ecosystem.

Simplex Wireless is working together with Kigen to use their SIM card (eUICC) based IPAe (available on Kigen IOT (SGP.32) OS-powered cards) to communicate with the Simplex EIM server. This showcases the flexibility of the new specifications for the solution makers to deploy IoT devices and switch eSMP providers.

Simplex Wireless is both an eSMP and a CSP. They provide these services independently, meaning that a Solution Maker can acquire either Simplex Wireless’ eSIM Management as a Service or eSIMs or both, in whatever way fits their choosing.

It is clear why the industry is so excited about the new specifications coming to market and why SIM card-based eSIM management is crucial.

SGP.32: The New eSIM for IoT Spec

The GSMA SGP.31/32 specifications released in 2023 were a hot topic at the 5G IoT Summit. This new specification results from a multi-year industry collaboration to address critical challenges in remote management. We commend this joint effort at the GSMA and thank all involved, especially Kigen’s Saïd Gharout, who has been instrumental in its formation.

SGP.32 Key Benefits

  • Openness: any IoT eSIM can download any profile from any operator DP+ without the complex integration.
  • Designed for LPWAN devices: flexible protocol support to download profiles over constrained bearers such as NB-IoT or LTE-M.
  • Flexibility in remote management models: eIM “remote control” could be operated by many parties and changed on the fly.

These have tremendous benefits for securing the future with AI, too – with IoT SAFE and the new SGP.42 for mass provisioning of profiles in factories.

Remaining IoT Scaling Challenges

  • For the device maker to build a single SKU and embed appropriate connectivity for the target market the device is destined for in the factory.
  • How a device in the field can securely activate the relevant eSIM subscription

Kigen has addressed both challenges through in-factory profile provisioning (IFFP) and working with the GSMA for its eSIM discovery service.

In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFFP)

IFFP is a relatively new technology that enables network operators and OEMs to provision eUICC profiles during device manufacturing.  This allows devices to be shipped with one or more pre-provisioned profiles, which the end user can activate. A report from Transforma Insights elaborates more on the IFFP approach taken by Kigen and notes:

“Not only does In-Factory Profile Provisioning (IFFP) deliver maximum value to original equipment manufacturers OEMs by streamlining the assembly line production process, but it also ensures out-of-the-box connectivity into each piece of hardware, with the preferred local mobile network whenever needed. Consequently, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) using eSIM and IFPP can now streamline connectivity for large volumes of products, such as smart meters, logistics trackers, and smart wearables, before they are shipped to specific global destinations. In addition, eSIM and remote SIM provisioning allow users to switch networks in the field and integrate diverse IoT applications to suit their use case.” — Matt Hatton, Transforma Insights

Download the report here to find out how IFPP accelerates device manufacturing.

Cost Reduction and Improved Customer Experience

IFPP offers reduced costs to the OEM with a single SKU, eliminating the need to ship devices with variants of eSIM and saving on shipping, logistics, and testing costs. It offers improved customer experience to activate devices and gives OEMs more flexibility with out-of-the-box connectivity without human intervention.

The process can be offline or online to suit the broadest range of manufacturing setups and profile loading times. As IFPP can occur on manufacturing sites outside of GSMA SAS certification, it offers reduced administration and cost compared to a standard SM-DP+ implementation.

Secure Activation in the Field

Next, when a device is in the field and end-users need to activate it without worrying about obtaining a SIM or eSIM – this can often prove challenging. GSMA has been working to streamline subscriptions from MNO to the device to provide a smooth onboarding experience for all. Kigen participates in this effort and is enlisted as an approved GSMA SM-DP+ service provider!

The GSMA Discovery service is the tried and tested, GSMA standardized way of securely activating eSIM subscriptions when a device is first switched on and needs to connect to the mobile network operator of choice. The discovery service matches the eSIM using the EID identifier on the eUICC with the relevant operator’s eSIM profile.

Loic Bonvarlet - SVP of Solutions & Marketing, Kigen

Kigen is the global security leader for Integrated SIM (iSIM) and eSIM technology solutions and services or connected devices. Connect with #futureofSIM conversation on LinkedIn and via Kigen_Ltd on Twitter.
Kigen is the global security leader for Integrated SIM (iSIM) and eSIM technology solutions and services or connected devices. Connect with #futureofSIM conversation on LinkedIn and via Kigen_Ltd on Twitter.