Samsung and HTC both unveiled new LTE smartphones this week at CTIA 2012 in New Orleans. The Samsung Focus 2 will be a $49 Windows phone offered by AT&T and the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE will be another Android 4.0 phone for Verizon Wireless customers. As these and other 4G phones ship to stores this summer, thousands of SIM cards will also be arriving at retail outlets, ready to be configured with customer information when the phones are purchased. Many of these SIM cards will be uniquely designed for LTE phones, giving operators the ability to remotely update SIM cards more easily than in the past.
Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel will both use Gemalto’s universal circuit integrated SIM cards in LTE phones. The cards can be updated by Gemalto’s over-the-air platform, which enables servers to recognize when phones are on and send updates to SIM cards, instead of repeatedly pushing information out to phones which may or may not be ready to receive. “We use a new IP protocol that is much more reliable and efficient than SMS,” says Gemalto’s Sebastien Cano, VP of telecommunications. Cano says each of Gemalto’s servers can manage millions of cards, enabling operators to easily update SIM cards with new information, such as which network to connect to when the user travels overseas.
Gemalto says its universal integrated circuit card works with any 3G or LTE device, meaning that customers can use the same SIM card in multiple devices. The card also runs an IP multimedia services identity module, which can be used to enable mobile payments.
Cano says that so far, Gemalto does not have any serious competitors in this part of the SIM card business. Having won Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless, the French company is now hoping that AT&T Mobility will follow suit. “AT&T is a SIM card customer and so far they have not acquired (the UICC) but we are in discussions and I have good hopes,” says Cano.
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