USIM in 5G Era


  • Mireille Pauliac Department of Standardization and Technology, Thales, France



5G USIM, UICC, smart card, OTA, authentication, AKA, 5G-AKA, EAP-AKA0, primary authentication, secondary authentication, network slice authentication, privacy, subscriber privacy, IMSI, SUPI, SUCI, key update, long term key update, LTKUP, steering of roaming, SoR, UE parameters update


If you ask anybody what is the name of the card inside his mobile phone, he will for sure answer SIM card, without knowing it is an acronym for Subscriber Identity Module. But, what about the USIM (Universal Subscriber Identity Module)? The USIM plays a key role in the mobile telecommunication services since it brings a host of fundamental features that are now perfected for 5G. This paper gives an overview of the new functionalities offered by the USIM in 5G system including new authentication schemes, subscriber privacy, Steering of Roaming, UE Parameters Update over NAS, and Long Term Key Update Procedure.


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Author Biography

Mireille Pauliac, Department of Standardization and Technology, Thales, France

Mireille Pauliac is security expert at Thales (former Gemalto/Gemplus) and belongs to the Standardization and Technology Department. After an engineering degree in computer science from “Ecole Supérieure d’Ingénieurs en Génie Electrique” (ESIGELEC) in France, she started working in 1996 as smart card operating system developer and then joined the security experts team. She has participated in numerous projects in banking and telecommunications areas to design and review the security protocols, and leaded security evaluations for ITSEC and Common Criteria certifications. She has contributed to telecommunications standardization with active participation in security of 3GPP, TISPAN, ETSI M2M, oneM2M, LoRa Alliance, and ETSI ITS.


3GPP TS 33.501, “Security architecture and procedures for 5G System”,


Anand R. Prasad, Sivabalan Arumugam, Sheeba B and Alf Zugenmaier,

GPP 5G Security, River Publishers, May 2018.

3GPP TS 33.102, “3G security; Security architecture”, Rel-15.

3GPP TS 31.115, “Secured packet structure for (Universal) Subscriber

Identity Module (U)SIM Toolkit applications”, Rel-15.

3GPP TR 33.935, “Detailed long term key update solutions”, Rel-16.






Special Issue on 3GPP 5G Security