At the moment eSIMs for IoT devices are still relatively immature and a bit expensive among Australia operators. Currently, there are 2 main types of eSIM:
* Consumer – these are used in consumer handsets such as IPhone, Samsung etc. they use a “pull” procedure where generally with the camera you scan a QR code given by the MNO and this can pull the new SIM profile over the air to your handset. Ref: GSMA spec SGP.21 . This is mature technology that is rolled out to most MNOs and more premium handsets.
* Industrial M2M – these are used for M2M, IoT applications that do not have a camera or UI, they use a “push” procedure where MNO will typically SMS to the device and start the push of new SIM profile. Ref GSMA spec SGP.02 . This is supported by Australia MNOs but right now, however they are limited in that they do not allow for switching to a different MNO. Other connectivity suppliers such as Vodafone, 1nce, Hologram etc. may support this and it is the general standard for IoT eSIMs available right now. There is no AT commands or direct control by the device over this, so in this sense updating the SIM profile is automatic. Hence there is no documentation that we can supply to the device manufacturers. Once this new SIM profile download is initiated by the MNO, as long as the device is attached to network, there is no intervention or action required by the device.
* Industrial + comsumer – there is new standard coming out that allows for M2M devices to “pull” the new SIM profile Ref GSMA SGP.32. See this external article. This is still in development and limited MNO’s support this. We have BETA FW for this for some modules, moving into formal release soon. There is new functionality, an LPA (local profile assistant) in the module that allows for AT commands to manage the downloaded SIM profiles via AT commands.
Basically the Industrial M2M eSIMs functionality are supported by most of our modules in production, from the LPWA to the 5G, and Smart module ranges.
There are other emerging technologies such as nuSIM/iSIM (another explainer here), even VSIM. at present there are limited number of MNOs supporting these and mass adoption will be some years away. However, Quectel are keeping pace and working with the main industrial stakeholders to have a timely solution ready.
For a bit more eSIM detail on the above: Quectel_eSIM_Introduction2023.pdf