What is UICC?

UICC is an abbreviation for “Universal Integrated Circuit Card.” This is a so-called “smart card,” which was designed to work with 3G and 4G LTE systems. This smart card can be used for several different applications; however, most prominently, it fulfills the role of a SIM card in our mobile phones. Nowadays, the Universal Integrated Circuit Card has almost entirely replaced the outdated Integrated Circuit Cards, which were designed to operate with 2G and the first series of 3G technologies.

Composition of a UICC

The UICC is about the same size as a micro-SIM card and features an integrated circuit. The circuit consists of RAM (Random Access Memory), ROM (Read-Only Memory), NVRAM (Non-Volatile Memory), and a microprocessor. Each UICC has a uniquely assigned identifier that is used to identify a device connected to a specific cellular network. Just like a SIM Card, the UICC can also store data, such as a user’s saved contacts. Also, just like the SIM Card, the UICC lets its user optimize call costs when roaming in a foreign country, by managing a list of preferred networks that are saved on the UICC. The typical storage capacity of a UICC ranges between 256 kilobytes and 1000 Megabytes.

Why use UICC?

One major advantage of the UICC technology is that it features multiple applications. One such example is USIM. An application that informs your internet network provider about your device and your subscription plan using one of the following 3G, 3.5G and 4G standards: LTE (Long Term Evolution), HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) or UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).

An additional application included in UICCs is the CSIM (CDMA SIM), this enables a connection to CDMA networks, which are entirely different to GSM, UMTS, LTE or HSPA. ISIM is an application, which allows for mobile access to a variety of multimedia services and other applications, such as payment applications.

Another benefit of the UICC is that it is able to communicate over IP (Internet Protocol), the standard every device uses to connect to the internet, and also an increasingly prevalent standard with the newer generations of wireless networks.