Real-Time SIM Activation

Streamline the SIM supply chain and ease subscriber on-boarding

an end user activates his SIM

Gemalto Real-Time SIM Activation associates phone numbers and service packages with the SIM when subscribers first use their phone. Subscribers can choose their numbers and services from their handsets, while operators optimize the use of their SIM and network resources.

The SIM lifecycle pitfalls

In an increasingly competitive environment, operators have implemented aggressive strategies to improve ARPU and foster customer loyalty. The multiplication of new voice and data bundles has become the general rule – particularly in prepaid markets. Also, mobile operators want to attract more 4G users, to increase the data services adoption and to accelerate their return on the substantial investments they made for deploying LTE networks.

The prepaid offers life-cycle generally relies on an established, cross-organization pre-provisioning process: once the associated subscription resources (service package, MSISDN, IMSI, ICCID, transport keys…) are pre-allocated to SIM cards, operators pre-provision their systems (HLR, BSS/OSS...), and SIM cards are produced, packaged and distributed to the points of sales. Consequently, commercial offers, SIM cards and phone numbers are inextricably linked together.

This process is inefficient:

  • Deploying new offers takes time, reducing revenue opportunities and preventing operators from reacting swiftly to competitors' offers.
  • The multitude of offers induces a surge in SIM profiles, increasing SIM costs and complicating stock management.
  • The new offers make the previous ones obsolete, forcing operators to scrap their unsold SIM cards.
  • The inactive SIM cards generate costs for network system capacity and cause MSISDN shortages.
  • With limited stocks, resellers can't meet users' expectations in terms of offer and number choices, reducing offers attractiveness, customer satisfaction and operator revenues.
  • Returning users must buy new SIMs and go through the painful registration process again, causing dissatisfaction.
  • Users who need to swap SIM (LTE migration, handset change, lost or broken SIM) have to go to the point of sales to perform a similarly cumbersome process.
  • The ever-stringent registration regulations make on-boarding a painful process for both operators and subscribers.

Many operators haven’t addressed these challenges. Others have deployed expensive IT-based activation systems with limited reach or applet-based solutions tying them to a SIM vendor and causing compatibility issues with some handset models.

Our real-time SIM activation solution

Gemalto Real-Time SIM Activation optimizes network and SIM resources, and eases subscriber on-boarding: it automates subscriber activation by pairing the SIM and the phone number only when users first use their phones.

Our fully customizable product provides subscribers the choice of service package or phone number at activation. It associates these choices with their SIM and provisions the operator network. Operators can adjust service packages to the market demand in a matter of days, as they need not go through the entire SIM supply chain.

Our real-time SIM activation solution eliminates premature SIM and phone number pairing. Operators no longer need to pre-provision the SIM and cut launch time for new offers or tariff plans.

Self-care SIM activation helps operators extend their distribution channels to unequipped outlets, mail, newspapers, and magazines.

Gemalto Real-Time SIM Activation also automates SIM swap: users can easily transfer their subscription to a  new SIM from their phone, eliminating the need to visit a store and relieving resellers' workload.

Our patented SIM reactivation feature drastically reduces SIM wastage and streamlines re-registration. By managing the decommissioned SIMs attachment to the network, we virtually eliminate the need for new SIMs for returning users. Muted SIMs are turned into solid gold by re-associating numbers with used SIMs without requiring any reverse logistics. The identification process is also simplified, easing the churned subscribers’ return.

Gemalto fully owns the real-time SIM activation core network solution, including the underlying signaling stack widely deployed around the world since 1988.


  • White paper - 3 strategies for mobile operators to regain inactive prepaid users

    White paper - 3 strategies for mobile operators to regain inactive prepaid users

    How to ease the returning experience of multi-SIM prepaid users in the points of sales – while reducing the reseller workload

    Read the white paper
  • SIM Reactivation - End-user survey acceptance

    Gemalto surveyed prepaid end-users who dropped their SIM to understand what they do with their old SIM and how they perceive the different alternatives to get back connectivity

    SIM Reactivation [PDF - 1.3MB]


  • 4 tactics for MNOs to regain inactive prepaid users

    4 tactics for MNOs to regain inactive prepaid users

    Operators have 4 alternatives to reacquire silent users whose SIM have become unused due to multiple SIM ownership

    Read more