NTT Docomo, in partnership with Gemalto, has developed what it says is the world’s first SIM card that can store multiple profiles from mobile carriers internationally.
The multi-profile SIM, which works on both smartphones and tablets, allows mobile users to switch between profiles that include phone number, contract information and data allowance. This helps mobile users eliminate the need to change SIM cards or use roaming services when traveling abroad.
With the new product, customers planning to stay overseas long term, such as expatriates and students, can not only access Docomo's network while in Japan, but also enjoy voice and data communications services provided directly by affiliated carriers in their respective service areas overseas, without needing to insert the SIM card of a local carrier or carry a rental device.
Docomo and Gemalto have been verifying the feasibility of their new product in joint tests with Conexus Mobile Alliance carriers since 2016.
New tests will be conducted with TrueMove H in Thailand and VNPT in Vietnam from December until March 2018, with commercial launch of the multi-SIM card expected as early as 2018.
“Customers will be able to arrange to receive service from an affiliated carrier so that once they arrive overseas they can make calls and access the internet from the moment they touch down,” the company said. “Corporate customers traveling between Japan and these countries will use the data services provide by the multi-profile SIM, and a quality evaluation will be made based on their experiences.”
In a separate announcement, Docomo has agreed to grant Samsung Electronics a patent license covering the Japanese mobile carrier’s standard-essential patents.
The agreement includes both parties' cooperation in business and standard setting activities. Under the agreement, Samsung will pay licensing fees to Docomo, the operator said in the statement.
Docomo said it has now granted standard-essential patent licenses to more than 30 companies. The company receives licensing fees for its standard-essential patents, which are paid via patent pools or directly by individual companies.
Docomo plans to continue its patent licensing in the research and development of mobile-network and service technologies for systems based on the W-CDMA, LTE, LTE-Advanced and to-be-standardized 5G standards.