Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card

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A Universal Integrated Circuit Card, or UICC for short, is a new-generation smart card designed to work with 3G, 4G, and LTE technologies. Although UICCs have a wide variety of applications, they are largely used as mobile phone SIM cards. Early 2G and 3G systems used Integrated Circuit Cards (ICCs), which UICCs have since replaced.

These tiny cards – smaller than the size of a thumbnail –have a built-in integrated circuit that contains a processor, RAM, ROM, and non-volatile memory (NVRAM). Each card also has a unique identifier that links the specific device it is to its corresponding wireless carrier. That way, the service provider knows your plan and the services you’ve subscribed to.

UICCs are considered “universal” since their delivery platforms work with virtually any 3G or 4G device and support multiple cellular networks and applications. Keep in mind that to use a UICC, its unique identifier has to be registered with a specific mobile service provider and activated to work within that cellular network.

Removing the card from the mobile device it was in makes the device in question unrecognizable in the network. However, if you insert the same UICC in a different device, the service provider recognizes the new handset on the carrier network and restores its usability.

Universal Subscriber Identity Modules (USIMs), IP Multimedia Services Identity Modules (ISIMs), and CDMA Subscriber Identity Modules (CSIMs) are all examples of UICCs for GSM, UMTS, and CDMA networks, respectively.

One popular application of UICCs is securing mobile access to non-telecom apps (like those designed for payment) and multimedia services. Most subscribers usually have UICCs with both ISIM and USIM apps for multimedia and phone services, respectively.

Another application of the card has to do with its ability to communicate using Internet Protocol (IP). This is the same data transmission standard used in communicating over the internet and in new-generation wireless networks. The fact that it also supports multiple PIN codes provides a higher level of digital protection against potential cyberattacks.


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