In good old days of GSM, SIM was physical card with GSM "application" (GSM 11.11)
In the brave new world of 3G+, UICC is the physical card with basic logical functionality (based on 3GPP TS 31.101) and USIM is 3G application on a UICC (3GPP TS 31.102). The UICC can contain multiple applications like the SIM (for GSM), USIM and ISIM (for IMS). There is an interesting Telenor presentation on current and future of UICC which may be worth the read. See references below.
UICC was originally known as "UMTS IC card". The incorporation of the ETSI UMTS activities into the more global perspective of 3GPP required a change of this name. As a result this was changed to "Universal Integrated Circuit Card". Similarly USIM (UMTS Subscriber Identity Module) changed to Universal Subscriber Identity Module.
UICC (3GPP TS 31.101) remains the trusted operator anchor in the user domain for LTE/SAE, leading to evolved applications and security on the UICC. With the completion of Rel-8 features, the UICC now plays significant roles within the network.
Some of the Rel-8 achievements from standards (ETSI, 3GPP) are in the following areas:
USIM (TS 31.102) With Rel-8, all USIM features have been updated to support LTE and new features to better support non-3GPP access systems, mobility management, and emergency situations have been adopted.
The USIM is mandatory for the authentication and secure access to EPC even for non-3GPP access systems. 3GPP has approved some important features in the USIM to enable efficient network selection mechanisms. With the addition of CDMA2000 and HRPD access technologies into the PLMN, the USIM PLMN lists now enable roaming selection among CDMA, UMTS, and LTE access systems.
Taking advantage of its high security, USIM now stores mobility management parameters for SAE/LTE. Critical information like location information or EPS security context is to be stored in USIM rather than the device.
USIM in LTE networks is not just a matter of digital security but also physical safety. The USIM now stores the ICE (In Case of Emergency) user information, which is now standardized. This feature allows first responders (police, firefighters, and emergency medical staff) to retrieve medical information such as blood type, allergies, and emergency contacts, even if the subscriber lies unconscious.
3GPP has also approved the storage of the eCall parameters in USIM. When activated, the eCall system establishes a voice connection with the emergency services and sends critical data including time, location, and vehicle identification, to speed up response times by emergency services. ECalls can be generated manually by vehicle occupants or automatically by in-vehicle sensors.
TOOLKIT FEATURES IMPROVEMENT (TS 31.111) New toolkit features have been added in Rel-8 for the support of NFC, M2M, OMA-DS, DM and to enhance coverage information.
The contactless interface has now been completely integrated with the UICC to enable NFC use cases where UICC applications proactively trigger contactless interfaces.
Toolkit features have been updated for terminals with limited capabilities (e.g. datacard or M2M wireless modules). These features will be notably beneficial in the M2M market where terminals often lack a screen or a keyboard.
UICC applications will now be able to trigger OMA-DM and DS sessions to enable easier device support and data synchronization operations, as well as interact in DVB networks.
Toolkit features have been enriched to help operators in their network deployments, particularly with LTE. A toolkit event has been added to inform a UICC application of a network rejection, such as a registration attempt failure. This feature will provide important information to operators about network coverage. Additionally, a UICC proactive command now allows the reporting of the signal strength measurement from an LTE base station.
CONTACT MANAGER Rel-8 defined a multimedia phone book (3GPP TS 31.220) for the USIM based on OMA-DS and its corresponding JavaCard API (3GPP TS 31.221).
REMOTE MANAGEMENT EVOLUTION (TS 31.115 AND TS 31.116) With IP sessions becoming prominent, an additional capability to multiplex the remote application and file management over a single CAT_TP link in a BIP session has been completed. Remote sessions to update the UICC now benefit from additional flexibility and security with the latest addition of the AES algorithm rather than a simple DES algorithm.
CONFIDENTIAL APPLICATION MANAGEMENT IN UICC FOR THIRD PARTIES The security model in the UICC has been improved to allow the hosting of confidential (e.g. third party) applications. This enhancement was necessary to support new business models arising in the marketplace, with third party MVNOs, M-Payment and Mobile TV applications. These new features notably enable UICC memory rental, remote secure management of this memory and its content by the third party vendor, and support new business models supported by the Trusted Service Manager concept.
SECURE CHANNEL BETWEEN THE UICC AND TERMINAL A secure channel solution has been specified that enables a trusted and secure communication between the UICC and the terminal. The secure channel is also available between two applications residing respectively on the UICC and on the terminal. The secure channel is applicable to both ISO and USB interfaces.
RELEASE 9 ENHANCEMENTS: UICC: ENABLING M2M AND FEMTOCELLS The role of femtocell USIM is increasing in provisioning information for Home eNodeB, the 3GPP name for femtocell. USIMs inside handsets provide a simple and automatic access to femtocells based on operator and user-controlled Closed Subscriber Group list.
Work is ongoing in 3GPP for the discovery of surrounding femtocells using toolkit commands. Contrarily to macro base stations deployed by network operators, a femtocell location is out of the control of the operator since a subscriber can purchase a Home eNodeB and plug it anywhere at any time. A solution based on USIM toolkit feature will allow the operator to identify the femtocells serving a given subscriber. Operators will be able to adapt their services based on the femtocells available.
The upcoming releases will develop and capitalize on the IP layer for UICC remote application management (RAM) over HTTP or HTTPS. The network can also send a push message to UICC to initiate a communication using TCP protocol.
Additional guidance is also expected from the future releases with regards to the M2M dedicated form factor for the UICC that is currently under discussion to accommodate environments with temperature or mechanical constraints surpassing those currently specified by the 3GPP standard.
Some work is also expected to complete the picture of a full IP UICC integrated in IP-enabled terminal with the migration of services over EEM/USB and the capability for the UICC to register on multicast based services (such as mobile TV).
The European Commission has made a final call to the European governments to speed up the implementation of the 'eCall' technology that uses cellular networks to automatically alert emergency services when a road accident occurs.
Currently, the deployment of eCall is voluntary and is not being used in any EU country. The Commission warns, in a policy document, that if no significant progress is made in rolling out the system by the end of 2009 it could propose regulatory measures to make it mandatory.
The Commission has presented a policy document with a strategy for introducing an affordable in-car emergency call system in all new vehicles across Europe by 2014, starting next year. Triggered automatically, if the passengers cannot do so, eCall is claimed to be able to save up to 2,500 lives per year in the EU when fully deployed and reduce severity of injuries by 10 to 15%.
Implementing eCall needs the full collaboration of the car and telecoms industries, as well as national administrations in all EU countries who must ensure that their emergency services are equipped to handle eCalls.
Although the technology is ready and common EU-wide standards have been agreed by industry, six EU countries ( Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia, Malta and the UK) are still not ready to commit, due to cost related concerns.
Preparing phone networks and emergency services for the roll out of eCall in cars across Europe has the full support of the European Parliament and 15 EU countries who have signed the eCall Memorandum of Understanding (Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden) and three other European countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) .
Another six countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Luxembourg, Romania and Poland) support eCall and are willing to sign the agreement in due time.
Before making eCall fully operational across the EU, countries must agree common standards and guidelines for harmonised deployment of the system and perform field tests putting it into practice (pilots have been launched in some EU countries, including Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Italy, The Netherlands). Through its Competitiveness and Innovation Programme the Commission may financially support such pilots, as well as public awareness campaigns about how the technology works.
Road accidents cost the EU economy more than EUR160 billion a year. Equipping all cars in the EU with the eCall system could save EUR26 billion annually while the system' is estimated to cost less than EUR100 per car. Introducing this device will not only benefit consumers, but also businesses by enabling the car and telecoms industries to offer new upgraded applications and services (like digital tachographs or electronic tolls) based on eCall to be installed in all vehicles and use satellite positioning technology.
Qualcomm is offering its endorsement for the Third Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP’s) recent approval of the eCall in-band modem specification, which supports the European Union’s eCall road safety initiative.
The 3GPP standardization group has approved the final specs of the eCall in-band modem standard. The specification work was undertaken by 3GPP at the request of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Commission, which sought a standardized technical solution to support the deployment of eCall across Europe. With the completion of this work, ETSI has adopted the 3GPP specifications and will publish them as ETSI standards.
The eCall public road safety initiative is designed to provide rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere in the European Union by automatically generating an emergency voice call via the cellular network to local emergency agencies, as well as sending information such as position location. ECall, which is scheduled for introduction and operation across Europe in late 2010, is expected to help save lives by improving notification of road accidents and speeding up emergency service response.
The eCall Memorandum of Understanding (eCall MoU) got the backing of Estonia. The country thereby commits itself to the timely implementation of eCall, the pan-European emergency call system. eCall enables a car involved in a serious crash to automatically dial 112 and call the nearest emergency centre. In the call, it notifies the accident and transmits its exact location. Jüri Pihl, Estonian Minister of the Interior, signed the eCall MoU in the presence of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. Estonia is the 15th EU Member State to sign the MoU.
The pan-European in-vehicle emergency call system, "eCall", is a device in the car that uses 112, the single European emergency number, to automatically call the nearest emergency centre in the event of a serious traffic accident. In the call the exact location of the accident scene is transmitted to the centre, even is there is no voice connection, because, for example, all passengers have lost consciousness. Knowledge of the exact location of the crash reduces response time of the rescue teams by 40 % in built-up areas and 50 % in rural environments. 2.500 lives could be saved in the European Union annually, and 15 % of serious injuries mitigated, if all European cars were equipped with eCall. Other EU Member States that have signed the MoU so far are: Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain and The Netherlands. Non-EU States Iceland, Norway and Switzerland belong to the signatories as well.
Watch this Video to understand all about eCall
eCall, Initially designed to fulfil European requirements, the eCall feature will:
Enable the automated delivery of 140 bytes of information in astandardised format to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)
Complete that delivery with 4 seconds
Provide accurate location information
The introduction of this feature will dramatically reduce the time taken for emergency assistance to arrive at the scene of an accident and hence help to save lives
For more information see:
3GPP TR 22.967
3GPP TS 22.105
3GPP TS 24.008 http://www.ertico.com/
Reference: Adrian Scrase Presentation in LTE World Summit