IoT Hacking Series #2: eSIM Supported Hardware

A picture of Ken-Tristan  Peterson
Written by
Ken-Tristan Peterson

There is no doubt that eSIM is going mainstream in the future, the only question is when it happens and how smooth the roll-out will be. One element holding back global eSIM adoption are certainly doubts or missing information about how the hardware used today will manage remote SIM provisioning in the future.

GSM 11.11 specifies mandatory functions, file types, structure and standardizes the physical SIM. Today’s hardware is mostly built according to the GSM 11.11 specification released in 1996, with some updated versions along the way. The standard also defines Application Protocol Data Units (APDU) which are the commands used by the transmission protocol for mapping general functions. Application Protocol Data Units can either be a command APDU or response APDU. Once a response and command APDU pair is set, a new Transport Protocol Data Unit (TPDU) will be created to send and receive data over commonly used protocols like T=0 and T=1.

This has been an essential part for SIMs and cellular hardware modules to communicate, but with today’s high speed and high throughput needs these two protocols can be limited. An eSIM has to be able to fetch new or update existing profiles Over the Air (OTA) that’s why the Bearer Independent Protocol (BIP) was set up and is especially relevant. BIP is bridging the high-speed data channels to the SIM card allowing OTA remote SIM management. The eSIM connects to the SM-SR (Subscription Manager Secure Routing Server) using BIP, where the underlying bearer can be SMS, CAT_TP, or HTTPS. However, it is important to note that the choice of bearer has an impact on accomplishing an eSIM specific task, for example using SMS for profile download can be very slow and unreliable, often resulting in a failed task.

The device or hardware itself needs to fully support BIP for an eSIM to have the possibility to be remotely provisioned. The GSMA has released a new specification targeting consumer and M2M/IoT eSIM. More specific information on the device requirements can be found in GSMA Remote Provisioning Architecture for Embedded UICC Technical Specification (Annex G).

Some of the basic BIP functions that need to be supported.

  • Open Channel 
  • Close Channel 
  • Receive Data 
  • Send Data 
  • Get Channel Status 
  • Envelop for data download 

A list of SIM Application Toolkit (SAT) commands that need to be supported by the device. 

  • Terminal Profile 
  • Fetch 
  • Terminal Response 
  • Provide Local Information 
  • Send Short Message 
  • Poll Interval 
  • Polling Off 
  • Timer Management 
  • Setup Event 
  • List Envelop for data download by SMS 
  • Refresh Command 

Not all devices support BIP quite yet, some manufacturers are promising software updates in the future that will add the possibility, others are just right now starting to release hardware with BIP. Furthermore modules might need to be configured to allow BIP, SIM ToolKit, or other functionality to work with eSIM. A look at hardware documentation should clear things up. 

We are gathering information about BIP supported hardware and also carrying out tests to make sure that 1oT’s eSIM works with today’s devices. What’s more, 1oT is happy to share this information to clear up the confusion about eSIM hardware. The list below is work in progress, and while not complete it will be updated accordingly with new information and test results 

BIP supported devices:

2G Modules
uBlox SARA-G340
SARA-G350-02S 1oT eSIM Test Report
SARA-G450
Quectel M66
MC60
M95
Telit E310-GNSS
GE910-QUAD V3 / GE910-GNSS / GE910-QUAD
GL865 / GL865 V3 / GL865 V3.1 / GL865 V4 1oT eSIM Test Report
GE866
GE865 QUAD
GE864 GPS / GE864 QUAD
SIMCom SIM800
SIM800C
SIM800F
3G Modules
uBlox SARA-U201 1oT eSIM Test Report
SARA-U270
SARA-U260
SARA-U280
Quectel UC15
UC20
UG95
UG96
Telit UE910
HE910
UL865 1oT eSIM Test Report
UE866
SIMCom SIM5300E
SIM5300EA
4G LTE Modules
uBlox LISA-U200
LARA-R211 1oT eSIM Test Report
LARA-R202
LARA-R203
LARA-R204
LARA-R220
LARA-R280
LARA-R3121
TOBY-R200
TOBY-R202
TOBY-L210 1oT eSIM Test Report
Quectel EC21
EC25
EG91-E
EG95-E
EM05 / EM06 / EM12
Telit LE910 Cat 1 / LE910B1
LE910 V2 / LE910B4 1oT eSIM Test Report
LE910Cx
SIMCom SIM7500x 1oT eSIM Test Report
SIM7500x-H
SIM7600x
SIM7600x-H
SierraWireless MC7455 / EM7455 1oT eSIM Test Report
MC7430 / EM7430
MC-WP7607



Fibocom
L860-GL
L850-GL
L830-EB
L816-AM / L816-GL
NB-IoT / LTE-M Modules
uBlox SARA-N310
SARA-N410
SARA-R410M
SARA-R412M
Quectel BC66
BC68
BG96
BC95-G
Telit NE910C1
ME910C1
ME866
LE866
Nordic
Semiconductors
nRF9160
PyCom G01
GPy
FiPy

Updated: 07.11.2019

If your device is not listed or you are not sure if it supports eSIM make sure to contact us at hacking [at] 1oT.mobi.

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