SGP.32 – Remote SIM Provisioning for IoT

The GSMA has released SGP.31/32: the Remote SIM Provisioning standard for IoT. Will this really enable global, ubiquitous connectivity and trigger the predicted upsurge in IoT deployments?

Read on to find out about the standard and how it might affect your new or existing IoT initiatives.

SGP.31/32 – Why do we need a new standard for IoT?

The M2M standard works well for larger players, such as the automotive industry and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) with the resources and capability to fully implement the standard.

But for some other players and deployments with constrained devices, it has significant challenges.

Operational challenges with SGP.01/02

When a business wants to change their connectivity provider, the current and new providers need to integrate their systems so that device management data can be transferred and the devices linked to the new provider’s system. This is complex and costly, with commercial, legal, and engineering implications. Often it’s just not a feasible proposition.

The standard is designed to make it easier for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to access profiles from mobile network operators (MNOs). But this isn’t straightforward, requiring significant engineering work and interoperability testing.

Device challenges with SGP.01/02

The M2M standard was created before the dramatic increase in constrained IoT devices, such as asset trackers, meters, and sensors.

These devices are often battery-operated and need to conserve power as much as possible. They typically connect to low-power wide area networks (LPWANs), sleep for long periods, use lightweight protocols and have limited intelligence.

The standard requires devices to support SMS, use connection-oriented protocols and respond promptly to management instructions. The devices must complete profile downloads in one session, even though large profiles can take several minutes to download on LPWANs.

Many constrained devices don’t meet these requirements. NB-IoT networks don’t support SMS, data can be lost if devices are sleeping when messages are sent to them, and modems sometimes close connections to conserve power before downloads are complete.

SGP.31/32 – the new RSP standard for IoT

In response to the challenges, the GSMA has developed the SGP.31/32 standard for IoT.

The IoT standard is based on the simpler consumer RSP standard. It removes the requirement for complex integrations between providers and addresses the needs of constrained devices.

A backend server (called an eSIM IoT Manager or eIM) can act as a proxy user interface, enabling devices to trigger a profile download from an MNO’s profile store. It can also be used to manage deployments centrally, pushing profiles to individual devices or fleets of devices when required.

SGP.31/32 benefits for IoT

SGP.31/32 makes a number of provisions to support constrained devices and simplify integrations between providers:

SGP.31/32 solutions

The IoT standard is not backwards compatible with the M2M standard and there’s no migration path forward from the M2M standard. Any deployments using the M2M standard will need to continue using that model until end-of-life.

Despite the drawbacks, SGP.31/32 aligns better with the needs of many IoT use cases. It’s likely to increasingly be used in place of the M2M standard for new deployments, particularly when solutions with the full set of provisions become available.

The GSMA released the technical specification in May 2023. We anticipated that platform and SIM certifications will be achieved in 2024.

In February 2024, Eseye and Thales announced the first market-ready SGP.32 eSIM platform that eliminates the need to configure mobile subscriptions in the factory. With SGP.32 and SGP.41 support combined, future IoT device deployments will be able to deliver optimum efficiency and value.

Ian Marsden

Founder & CTO


Ian has a passion for developing technology-based solutions that deliver real improvements to businesses, the environment and quality of life.

Previously he co-founded CompXs to deliver the world’s first ZigBee design. Prior to CompXs, Ian held senior software leadership roles at Philips and has since spearheaded the ground-breaking innovation of our global AnyNet Secure cellular solution.

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