Technical Committee (TC) Smart Card Platform (SCP) Activity Report 2020

Chair: Klaus Vedder, Samsung R&D Institute UK

Responsible for the development and maintenance of specifications for secure elements (SEs) in a multi-application capable environment, the integration into such an environment, as well as the secure provisioning of services making use of SEs.

ETSI’s Smart Card Platform committee (TC SCP) develops and maintains specifications for the Secure Element (SE) used in telecommunication systems including the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications.

The remote management of SEs and the interfaces required for the interaction of servers involved in this management are also addressed. TC SCP develops ‘agnostic’ specifications that can find their way into other applications such as ID management, ticketing and ID cards with contactless interfaces used in financial services. It is of particular importance for the user that for each topic addressed, TC SCP’s specifications encompass not only requirements and the technical solution but also conformance testing for both the SE and the terminal.

TC SCP is also the home of the UICC – the most widely deployed Secure Element with more than five billion pieces entering the market every year just as SIM cards, a share of well over 50% of the Secure Elements market (source: EUROSMART).

In 2020 TC SCP accepted two brand new specifications for the Smart Secure Platform (SSP) for publication. The committee continued the process of upgrading specifications to the latest Release and clear its portfolio. The latter was concluded by withdrawing a number of outdated work items. The new ETSI Testing Task Force (TTF) T001 took up its work, and successfully submitted for approval the first of its three to be developed SSP test specifications.

A new function for the UICC will be the use of the contactless interface of the UICC to support Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) technologies for secure applications hosted on the UICC. Requirements were finalized and technical realization started in mid-2020, with completion anticipated by mid-2021.

During the year the focus of TC SCP activity remained on the advancement (and maintenance) of the next generation secure platform, the Smart Secure Platform (SSP). After the publication of the first four specifications in 2019, the first of the two parts of the embedded SSP (eSSP) was published in 2020.

SSP offers a more flexible platform than the UICC. It can be adapted to multiple different products and markets, while maintaining a common set of features and some of the characteristics of the UICC platform. SSP offers an open platform for multiple applications, a choice of physical interfaces and form factors to adapt to market needs, a new modern and flexible file system, built-in capabilities to support multiple authentication methods (such as biometric). It is designed to further the design of scalable secure solutions that can be optimized to fit markets and products.

In June TC SCP presented two well received sessions on the state of the SSP at the virtual ETSI Security Week 2020. The first presentation gave a high-level introduction covering the path towards the SSP, its requirements, the ecosystem as well as certification and testing. The second presentation dealt in detail with the technical concepts of the SSP, the general technical characteristics, the System on Chip (SoC) solution and protocols as specified in TS 103 666-1 and -2 as well as the SPI protocol in TS 103 713. It also gave an insight into the work on the embedded SSP.

To achieve interoperability of the Secondary Platform Bundle for those applications requiring this, TC SCP performed an analysis of potential solutions including the development of a specific API. This has the appeal that there will be no overhead for those applications not requiring interoperability. Technical realization will be a major topic of 2021.

As for all its UICC specifications TC SCP intends to provide test specifications also for its SSP specifications. For this reason, TC SCP had successfully applied to ETSI for the funding of a task force to develop test specifications for the three SSP specifications published at that time in 2019. The first ETSI Testing Task Force T001 took up its work in May 2020. In line with its Terms of Reference, it provided TC SCP by December 2020 with the final draft of TS 103 813, the test specification of the SPI interface, and the first draft of TS 103 999-1, the test specification for the SSP General Characteristics. The latter as well as the test specification for the System on Chip solution are expected for publication in 2021.

These specifications were accepted in 2020 for publication:

  • TS 103 666-3 Smart Secure Platform (SSP); Part 3: Embedded SSP (eSSP) Type 1 characteristics (Release 16)
  • TS 103 813 Smart Secure Platform (SSP); Test Specification, SPI Interface (Release 15)

A complete list of all TC SCP deliverables published in 2020 can be seen here.

The work of TC SCP includes inputs from ETSI and outside organizations. The committee therefore continued to liaise with major external contributors and users such as GlobalPlatform, the GSM Association, 3GPP, the NFC Forum, the Global Certification Forum (GCF), oneM2M, Eurosmart and the Trusted Connectivity Alliance, the successor of the SIMalliance.

In 2020 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was established between ETSI and the MIPI Alliance to ease the specification of new interfaces (I2C and I3C) for the SSP. TC SCP has also continued to maintain the application identity register for smart card applications on behalf of a number of these and other organizations.

 Look out for in 2021 – TC SCP work in progress:


    • Technical realisation of the requirements related to the support of Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) services hosted in the UICC. Revision of TS 102 622
    • Support of multiple logical terminal interfaces over one physical interface. Revision of TS 102 221 and 102 223


    • Requirements for the support of multiple logical Terminal-UICC interfaces over one physical interface for UICC and SSP. Revision of TS 102 412 and 103 465.


  • Requirements for next release:
    • Remote management of the SSP
    • Device change that supports remote provisioning of a new device
    • The mechanism for a terminal to discover the relevant SPB Manager to download an SPB or remote management command
  • Removable SSP
    • Embedded SSP (eSSP) Type 2
    • Removable SSP
    • Specification of a new interface (I3C)
    • Test specifications for TS 102 666-1 and TS 103 666-2
    • Development of a Test Tool Connector.

A full list of all current TC SCP Work Items can be viewed here.