Soft SIMs, a cutting-edge cellular technology, promise to deliver the same capabilities as physical SIM cards without taking up any physical space in your device. While they offer some advantages for manufacturers, they also come with drawbacks. In this blog, we’ll investigate the pros and cons of soft SIMs, but first, let’s explain how they differ from eSIMs.
Soft SIM vs. eSIM: What’s the Difference?
The term “eSIM” can be a bit hazy, as it can refer to two distinct technologies: an embeddable SIM form factor (usually the MFF2) or an embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC). These technologies, while smaller and more flexible than traditional SIM cards, still involve a physical part within the device.
On the other hand, a soft SIM is purely software-based, with no physical module. Essentially, it’s a set of software applications and data that perform all the functionality of a SIM card but does not belong to any kind of secure data storage. Unlike eSIMs, there are no industry-wide standards for soft SIMs, leading to variations in their implementation.
Pros and Cons of Soft SIMs
Manufacturers and users can benefit from the adoption of soft SIM technology, but it’s essential to weigh the advantages against the potential disadvantages.
As soft SIMs eliminate the need for physical card slots, devices can become smaller and more versatile. Manufacturers can produce smaller IoT sensors and other compact devices, offering new use cases and more installation options.
Potential for Lower Costs
The absence of physical components in soft SIMs can reduce manufacturing costs and production time. Instead of buying hardware containing software, it’s more like buying licenses for the software, which can be more cost-effective.
Protection from the Elements
Soft SIMs, like embedded SIMs, eliminate the vulnerability associated with SIM card slots. These slots can be points of weakness in devices, susceptible to damage from dust, water, electric shock, vibration, or extreme temperatures. Soft SIMs can enhance device durability and reliability.
Lack of Standardisation
One significant drawback of soft SIMs is the absence of industry-wide standardisation. This means that different vendors may implement soft SIMs differently, which can affect performance and reliability. Manufacturers need to inspect the specifics of the technology they are adopting.
Greater Security Risks
While the idea of going hardware-free may seem attractive, it’s important to note that eliminating the physical component can make soft SIMs more vulnerable to security breaches. Operating systems are more susceptible to hacking than dedicated hardware, potentially compromising the security of operator systems.
Remote SIM Provisioning
Not all soft SIMs have the capability to change SIM profiles remotely. This functionality depends on the underlying software. Some soft SIMs may lack the necessary components for remote provisioning, so it’s crucial to verify the capabilities with vendors before assuming that all soft SIMs offer this feature.
Soft SIMs are an innovative technology that can offer numerous benefits in terms of design flexibility, cost reduction, and protection from environmental factors. However, the lack of standardisation and potential security risks are important considerations. Manufacturers and users should carefully evaluate their specific use cases and needs before fully embracing soft SIM technology, ensuring that the potential rewards outweigh the risks.