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Publication numberUS20050026635 A2
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/215,989
Publication dateFeb 3, 2005
Filing dateAug 9, 2002
Priority dateJun 15, 1993
Also published asCA2165201A1, CA2165201C, CN1083667C, CN1127579A, CN1377199A, CN100440985C, DE9422407U1, DE9422419U1, DE69414273D1, DE69414273T2, DE69434932D1, DE69434932T2, DE69435322D1, EP0704140A1, EP0704140B1, EP0748135A2, EP0748135A3, EP0748135B1, EP0865217A2, EP0865217A3, EP1298946A2, EP1298946A3, EP1298946B1, EP1298947A2, EP1298947A3, EP1298947B1, EP1317153A2, EP1317153A3, EP1317153B1, EP2296388A2, EP2296388A3, US6011976, US6453167, US7551933, US20020193129, US20040106416, US20090111429, US20090111493, US20090111494, US20090124274, US20090163233, US20090163234, US20090163235, US20090163236, US20090170540, US20090170541, US20090176485, US20090176519, WO1994030023A1
Publication number10215989, 215989, US 2005/0026635 A2, US 2005/026635 A2, US 20050026635 A2, US 20050026635A2, US 2005026635 A2, US 2005026635A2, US-A2-20050026635, US-A2-2005026635, US2005/0026635A2, US2005/026635A2, US20050026635 A2, US20050026635A2, US2005026635 A2, US2005026635A2
InventorsWayne Michaels, Anthony Timson, Aden Dervan
Original AssigneeBritish Technology Group Intercorporate
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Telecommunications System
US 20050026635 A2
Abstract
Abstract of the Disclosure
In a telecommunications system such as a global mobile telephone network in which each subscriber unit includes a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM card), each SIM card has fixed memory locations, to which data can be addressed over the air. Some of the locations can not be overwritten from the subscriber unit but can be accessed therefrom on the entry of short simple codes, each associated with one of the locations. Further fixed memory locations can be read over the air only when the subscriber enters a personal identification number. Locking control files are used to control read/write access to the locations respectively.
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Claims(77)
1. A module for a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, the subscriber unit including a transceiver operably connectable to said module, the telecommunications system having a host station, the transceiver operable to receive from the host station messages in a predetermined format and a read command message in the predetermined format and having a read command encoded in a specific format and embedded therein, said module comprising:
a memory location;
means for determining whether a message received by said module from the transceiver in the predetermined format is the read command message;
means for decoding the read command; and
means responsive to the decoded read command to read an item of data from said memory location and to provide said item of data to the transceiver for transmission to the host station.
2. The module of claim 1 wherein said module is removably connectable to the transceiver.
3. The module of claim 1, wherein said memory location is a first memory location, and further including a second memory location, said second memory location having stored therein subscriber identity information.
4. A module for a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, the subscriber unit including a transceiver operably connectable to said module, the telecommunications system having a host station, the transceiver operable to receive from the host station messages in a predetermined format and a write command message in the predetermined format, having a write command encoded in a specific format and embedded therein, and having an item of data included therein, said module comprising:
a memory location;
means for determining whether a message received by said module from the transceiver in the predetermined format is the write command message;
means for decoding the write command; and
means responsive to the decoded write command to write said item of data to said memory location.
5. A module for a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, the subscriber unit including a transceiver operably connectable to said module, the telecommunications system having a host station, the transceiver operable to receive from the host station messages in a predetermined format and a command message in the predetermined format having a command encoded in a specific format and embedded therein, said module comprising:
means for identifying the command message by detecting the presence of the specific format in the command message;
means for decoding the command message; and
means responsive to the decoded command message to execute the command.
6. A circuit card for a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, the subscriber unit including a transceiver operably connectable to said card, the telecommunications system having a host station, the transceiver operable to receive from the host station messages in a predetermined format and a command encoded in a specific format and embedded in a command message in the predetermined format, said card comprising:
a filter coupleable to the transceiver to receive a message from the transceiver in the predetermined format and configured to detect whether the received message is the command message; and
a processor coupled to the filter, programmed to decode the command message, and responsive to the decoded command message to execute the command.
7. The circuit card of claim 6, further including a memory location; and wherein:
said command is a read command; and
said processor is programmed to execute the command by reading an item of data from said memory location and providing said item of data to the transceiver for transmission to the host station.
8. The circuit card of claim 6, further including a memory location; and wherein:
said command is a write command;
said command message includes an item of data; and
said processor is programmed to execute the command by writing said item of data to said memory location.
9. A message for communication between a host station and a module in a mobile station, comprising:
a message body in a predetermined format; and
a command embedded in said message body and being encoded in a specific format different than the predetermined format.
10. The message of claim 9, wherein said command is selected from the group consisting of read, write, lock a memory location, unlock a memory location, and run.
11. The message of claim 9, wherein said specific format is a secure format.
12. The message of claim 11, wherein said secure format is an embedded command stream.
13. The message of claim 9, wherein said message body includes a data stream, said data stream disposed in said message body after said command.
14. A method for issuing a command to be executed in a processor of a module in a mobile subscriber unit forming a part of a telecommunications system that includes a host station, comprising:
encoding the command in a specific format;
embedding the encoded command in a message body having a predetermined format to form a command message; and
outputting the command message from the host station.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein said embedding includes embedding a data stream, said data stream disposed in said message body after said command.
16. The method of claim 14 wherein said outputting includes outputting said command message using a short message service.
17. A method for controlling a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, the subscriber unit including a module and a transceiver operably connectable to the module, the telecommunications system having a host station, the transceiver operable to receive from the host station messages in a predetermined format and a command encoded in a specific format and embedded in a command message in the predetermined format, comprising:
determining whether a message received by the module from the transceiver in the predetermined format is the command message;
decoding the command; and
in response to the decoded command, executing the command.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the module includes a memory location having stored therein an item of data and the command is a read command to retrieve the item of data, further comprising:
reading the item of data from the memory location; and
providing the item of data to the transceiver for transmission to the host station.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein the module includes a memory location, the command is a write command, and the message includes an item of data, further comprising writing the item of data to the memory location.
20. A mobile communications system, comprising:
a host computer configured to output a first message in a first predetermined format, the first message having a second message embedded therein, the second message having a second predetermined format different from the first predetermined format;
a network coupled to the host computer and configured to receive the first message; and
an interface to a mobile station coupled to the network and configured to receive the first message from the network.
21. The system of claim 20 further comprising an internetwork link coupled to the network and the interface to the mobile station.
22. The system of claim 21, the internetwork link having a switch.
23. The system of claim 20, wherein the second message includes a command to produce an operation in the mobile station.
24. The system of claim 20, wherein the second message includes a data item to be stored in the mobile station.
25. A module for use in a mobile communications transceiver, the module comprising:
a filter coupled to receive and detect a file object from the transceiver;
a memory coupled to the filter;
a processor coupled to the filter, the processor configured decode the file object into at least one of a data file program and a data file, the processor further configured to execute the data file program, the processor and memory configured to store the data file in the memory, the module being removably coupled to the transceiver.
26. The module of claim 25, wherein the filter is further configured to detect a read command from the transceiver, the processor and memory are further configured to read data from the memory based on the read command and output the data to the transceiver, and the transceiver is configured to output the data to a host station.
27. A message for communication between a host station and at least one mobile station comprising:
a first data stream in a first predetermined format;
a second data stream embedded in the first data stream, the second data stream having at least one of a data file and a data file program.
28. A telecommunications system, comprising:
a host station configured to output a message, the message optionally including a file object;
a mobile station coupled to the host; and
a module removably coupled to the mobile station, the module configured to detect the file object, decode the file object into at least one of a data file and a data file program, store the data file, and execute the data file program.
29. A method for communicating, comprising:
receiving a message from a host station in a mobile station, the message optionally including a file object;
outputting the message to a module, the module removably coupled to the mobile station;
detecting the file object in the module; and
decoding at least one of a data file and data file program in the file object, the decoding performed in the module.
30. The method of claim 29 further comprising:
storing the data file in the module if the file object includes a data file; and
executing the data file program in the module if the file object includes a data file program.
31. The method of claim 30, wherein storing includes determining a location based on data in the file object.
32. The method of claim 30, further comprising:
decoupling the module from the mobile station;
coupling the module to a point of sale device; and
transmitting a data file from the module to the point of sale device.
33. The method of claim 30, further comprising:
receiving a subsequent message from the host station in the mobile station, the subsequent message including a subsequent file object;
outputting the subsequent message to the module;
detecting the subsequent file object in the module; and
decoding a read command in the subsequent file object, the decoding performed in the module.
34. The method of claim 33, further comprising:
reading a subsequent data file in the memory;
transmitting the subsequent data file from the module to the mobile station; and
transmitting the subsequent data file from the mobile station to the host station.
35. A method for communicating, comprising:
reading a data file program in a module;
executing the data file program in the module, executing including reading a data file stored in the module and outputting the data file to a mobile station, the outputting causing the data file to be output from the mobile station to the host station, the module being removably coupled to the mobile station.
36. A method for operating a mobile station, comprising:
receiving a coded message from a first host computer, the coded message being in a first format and including a data item embedded therein in a second format;
outputting the coded message to a module, the module removably coupled to the mobile station;
receiving a code from a mobile station user, the code corresponding to a predetermined memory location for the data item; and
outputting the code to the module.
37. The method of claim 36, further comprising:
receiving the data item from the module;
displaying the data item to the user; and
outputting the data item to a second host computer.
38. The method of claim 37, further comprising receiving a predetermined personal identification number from the user, wherein receiving the data item from the module is only performed if the predetermined personal identification number corresponds to the predetermined memory location.
39. A telecommunications system comprising:
a host station configured to selectively output data in at least one of a first format and a second format, the data including a run command in the second format;
a subscriber unit coupleable to the host station; and
a module removably coupleable to the subscriber unit, the module configured to detect the second format, the module further configured to run executable code stored in the module based on detection of the second format and the run command.
40. A module removably coupleable to a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, the module configured to receive a message from the subscriber unit, the message having first data in a first format and second data in a second format, the data in the second format including at least one of executable code, a write command, and a run command, the module further configured to detect the second format.
41. The module of claim 40, wherein the module is further configured to store the executable code based on the detected second format and the write command, the module further configured to process the executable code based in response to the run command.
42. A method for distributing executable code in a telecommunications system comprising transmitting executable code from a host station, the executable code in a first format, the executable code embedded in a message, the message in a second format.
43. A module for use in a telecommunications system having a host station configured to selectively output data in at least a first format and a second format, the data including a write command in the second format, and a subscriber unit coupleable to the host station:
said module being coupleable to the subscriber unit
said module being configured to detect the second format and to store the data based on the detected second format and the write command.
44. The module of claim 43, wherein the data includes application data in the second format.
45. The module of claim 44, wherein the application data includes at least one telephone number in the second format.
46. The module of claim 44, wherein the application data includes at least one of a name and an address in the second format.
47. The module of claim 43, wherein the data includes at least one of personalization and re-personalization data in the second format.
48. The module of claim 43, wherein the module is further configured to store the data using a secure data protocol.
49. The module of claim 48, wherein the module is configured to output the data to at least one of the host station and a user of the subscriber unit using the secure data protocol.
50. A method for personalizing a subscriber unit, with personalization data transmitted from at least one host station, the personalization data in a special format, the personalization data embedded in a message, the message in a second format, the method comprising:
receiving the message in a transceiver and a module coupled to the transceiver; and
detecting the second format in the module.
51. The method of claim 50, further comprising storing the personalization data in the module.
52. The method of claim 50, further comprising:
reading the personalization data in the module; and
outputting the personalization data to at least one of the at least one host station.
53. The method of claim 50, further comprising:
transmitting subsequent personalization data from the at least one host station, the subsequent personalization data in the special format, the subsequent personalization data embedded in the message, the message in the second format;
receiving the subsequent message in the transceiver and the module; and
detecting the second format in the module.
54. A method for telecommunications with subscriber units capable of detecting a command in a specific format distinct from a format used for other transmissions, comprising:
selecting a plurality of the subscriber units in a predetermined geographical area; and
transmitting data from at least one host to the selected plurality of subscriber units, the data including a write command in a specific format, wherein the specific format is distinct from a format used for other transmissions.
55. The method of claim 54, further comprising:
detecting the specific format in each of the selected plurality of subscriber units.
56. The method of claim 54 wherein the step of selecting is based on at least one cell.
57. The method of claim 54 wherein the step of selecting is based on roam status.
58. The method of claim 54 wherein the step of transmitting includes data having advertisement information.
59. The method of claim 54, further comprising:
determining in each of the selected plurality of subscriber units whether the data is already stored; and
in each of the subscriber units, storing the data if it is determined that the data is not already stored.
60. A method for performing a commercial transaction using a subscriber unit, the subscriber unit including a user input device, a display, a memory, and a network interface, the method comprising:
receiving a personal identification number from the user input device;
determining whether the personal identification number is valid; and
if the personal identification number is valid, outputting information to the network interface in a secure format.
61. The method of claim 60, further comprising:
receiving a short code from the user input device; and
displaying a reference on the display.
62. A method for provisioning a smart card, comprising:
receiving in a transceiver a first application code transmitted from a host via a link, the smart card being coupled to the transceiver;
writing the first application code from the transceiver to the smart card; and
decoupling the smart card from the transceiver.
63. The method of claim 62, wherein the application code is in a specific format, the specific format being embedded in a standard message format, the specific format being distinguishable in the smart card from the standard message format.
64. The method of claim 62, wherein the step of transmitting includes transmitting the application code to a wireless link.
65. The method of claim 62, wherein the step of transmitting includes transmitting the application code to a wired link.
66. The method of claim 62, wherein the step of transmitting includes transmitting the application code to a secure link.
67. The method of claim 62, further comprising coupling the smart card to a point of sale machine.
68. The method of claim 62, further comprising:
transmitting a second application code from a host to a link;
receiving the second application code in a transceiver from the link, the smart card being coupled to the transceiver; and
writing the second application code from the transceiver to the smart card.
69. An electronic module, comprising:
an input/output manager configured to receive input data from at least one host station, the input/output manager further configured to transmit output data to the at least one host station;
a detector coupled to the input/output manager and configured to detect input data having a predetermined first format, input data having the predetermined first format being embedded in a message having a predetermined second format; and
a memory coupled to each of the input/output manager and the detector, the memory configured to store a portion of the input data having the predetermined first format if the input data having the predetermined first format includes a write command.
70. The electronic module of claim 69, wherein the memory is further configured to transmit the output data to the input/output manager where the input data having the predetermined first format includes a read command.
71. The electronic module of claim 69, further comprising a processor coupled to the detector and the memory, the processor configured to process executable code from one of the input data having the predetermined first format and the memory if the input data having the predetermined first format includes a run command.
72. A mobile unit for use in a telecommunications system having a host station and an interface to the host station, the mobile unit comprising:
a subscriber unit coupleable to the interface, the subscriber unit configured to receive a first data item from a user of the subscriber unit,
a module removably coupleable to the subscriber unit, the module configured to receive the first data item from the subscriber unit in a special format, the module further configured to read a second data item stored in the module, the module further configured to output the second data item to the interface.
73. The mobile station of claim 72, wherein the first data item includes a personal identification number, wherein the second data item includes credit account information, and wherein the module is configured to output the second data item in a secure format.
74. A method for broadcasting in a telecommunications system, comprising:
identifying a plurality of subscriber units in a geographic area; and
transmitting data in a specific format from a host station to the plurality of subscriber units, wherein the data includes a write command, wherein the write command includes a specific format, wherein the specific format is distinct from a format used for other transmissions, wherein each of the subscriber units includes a module, and wherein the module is configured to detect the specific format.
75. A message in a telecommunications system, the message comprising:
a message body in a first format;
a write command in a second format; and
a file object in the second format, the message being directed to a plurality of receivers.
76. The message of claim 75, the file object including at least one of functional data and non-functional data.
77. An executable code message in a telecommunications system, the message comprising:
a message body in a first format;
a command message in a second format; and
executable code in the second format.
Description
Detailed Description of the Invention Cross Reference to Related Applications

This application claims priority under 35 USC Section 120 and is a continuation of U.S. Application No. 09/455,628, filed Dec. 7, 1999, now U.S. Patent No. 6,453,167, which is a continuation of U.S. Application Ser. No. 08/557,147, filed Apr. 19, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,011,976, which is a national application of prior International Application No. PCT/GB94/01295, filed June 15, 1994. U.S. Application Nos. 09/455,628 and 08/557,147 are incorporated herein by reference.

Background of Invention

This invention relates to a telecommunications system. In particular, but not exclusively, it relates to a mobile communications system such as a cellular mobile radio or telephone system.

A recent innovation in such systems has been the introduction of Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM cards). These are integrated circuit cards which can be releasably inserted into a mobile telephone and which contain in memory the subscriber's identity, i.e., his telephone number. These known SIM cards also have a rolling buffer which can store a certain number of alphanumeric characters. The buffer facilitates the so-called Short Message Service (SMS) in which a message for a subscriber or for a specified group of subscribers can be broadcast over the air, as an advanced form of radiopaging. Messages can be received by a mobile telephone whenever it is idle or on stand-by. However, if a message is received which would overfill the buffer, data is lost on a first-in-first-out basis.

It is an object of the invention to provide a more efficient and remotely reconfigurable SIM card.

Summary of Invention

From one aspect, the present invention consists in a telecommunications system comprising at least one host station and a plurality of subscriber units, the or each host station being operable to transmit a message to at least one of the subscriber units, and each subscriber unit having a multiplicity of fixed memory locations and means responsive to the detection of the message to store the message in a selected one of the fixed memory locations which can not be overwritten from the subscriber unit, but which can be accessed from the subscriber unit when required.

In the present application, a "fixed" memory location means a location into which data can be written, and excludes first-in-first-out or circular buffers. Overwriting of all the data in certain "fixed" memory locations may occur in contrast to the first-in-first-out loss of data experienced with current SMS buffers.

Thus, for example, a set of telephone numbers, each with an identifying alphanumeric tag, can be transmitted to the SIM card, allowing users easy access to commonly used services such as hotels, car hire or airline reservations. This feature is known as a Value Added Service Directory.

A message may be retrievable by the subscriber on the entry of simple, short codes into the subscriber unit, each memory location corresponding to a particular code. A message may include a telephone number and, once stored, may be able to be overwritten over the air. Preferably, the or each host station is operable to transmit a request for information stored in a subscriber unit. The information may be included in a message and it may also include information which is stored in a secure memory location, accessible only when the subscriber enters a personal identification number (PIN number). The information may include credit details relevant to the subscriber, for example, a credit card number of credit status, thus greatly facilitating credit card transactions carried out over the telephone. Using this feature of the invention, a credit account holder avoids having to dictate his account details and need only enter the mandatory PIN number.

The host station may be operable to transmit instructions to lock and/or unlock a memory location at the subscriber unit. It may be operable to transmit instructions to run a program stored in memory locations at the subscriber unit. The host station may be operable to transmit files containing functional data and/or files containing non-functional data to the subscriber unit. The messages, requests for information and the instructions being transmitted may be in a specific format which the subscriber unit is able to distinguish from other formats. The specific format may be made secure against interception.

In a preferred embodiment, the subscriber unit comprises a mobile radio or telephone and an integrated circuit card which can be removably connected to the radio/telephone. The integrated circuit card may contain the memory locations and may contain means for distinguishing the specific format from other formats. The card may contain means for distinguishing between the messages, requests for information and instructions. The card may also contain the means for storing the messages and means for acting on the requests and instructions.

From another aspect, the invention consists in a module for controlling a subscriber unit in a telecommunications system, comprising a multiplicity of fixed memory locations and means responsive to the detection of a message transmitted remotely thereto to store the message in a selected one of the fixed memory locations, and being adapted for removable connection to a transceiver of the subscriber unit.

At least one of the fixed memory locations may be protected from overwriting by the subscriber. The module or card may include means for rendering any or all of said fixed memory locations accessible or inaccessible by either the subscriber or the host station. The card may include a directory structure within which files can be stored.

The invention is particularly applicable to global telecommunication systems in which the mobile cellular telephone networks of various countries or areas communicate using a common standard. An example of such a global system is GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) currently operating in Europe. However the invention is not limited to global systems and could be applied to a single national cellular network or even to a fixed land-linked network.

Brief Description of Drawings

An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: FIG. 1 shows the transmission of messages to a subscriber unit in a system according to the invention; FIG. 2 shows a process in which a subscriber unit transmits a message and requested information; FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing elements of a module shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; FIG. 4 shows details of one of the blocks shown in FIG. 3; and FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing the operation of the module shown in FIGS. 1 to 4.

Detailed Description

FIG. 1 illustrates an SMS distribution path according to the invention. In the prior art, the short messages have usually been directed to a single subscriber or a specified group of subscribers such as a sales team.

However, GSM also supports a feature known as Cell Broadcast in which messages can be sent to all the subscribers in a particular area. In the embodiment of the invention illustrated, a message consists of the telephone number of an advertiser and an alphanumeric tag to identify the advertiser.

An operator enters the message into a terminal 1. The message is then coded into a secure format known to applicants as an Embedded Command Stream (ECS) and sent via a modem 2 and a fixed line 3 to a local GSM switch 4. According to its delivery address, the message is delivered to any or all of the other switches within that network, or even across networks.

The switch 4, which in this example is in the geographical area to which the message is to be transmitted, delivers the message to a number of cellsites 5. The cellsites 5 are the base transceiver stations of the GSM network.

Each cellsite 5 then broadcasts the message to a group of transceivers or mobile telephones, hereinafter referred to as "mobiles". If Cell Broadcast is used, the group consists of all mobiles within the geographical area at the time of the broadcast.

A selected mobile 6 receiving the message transmits a confirmation of receipt back to its respective cellsite 5. From now on, until an update situation, the system will not contact this mobile 6 again.

The mobile 6 recognizes the message as SMS data and passes it to a SIM card 7, which is a small self-contained microprocessor, held in a slot in the mobile 6. The SIM card 7 in turn recognizes the ECS using special hardware and software and stores the message in memory in such a way that it may not be overwritten by the subscriber. Known SIM cards contain a large number of fixed memory locations in which the subscriber can store frequently dialed numbers and corresponding alphanumeric tags. The SIM card 7 of the invention stores the message in one of these locations, and then carries out a write protect operation. The locations dedicated to storing write protected messages may be designated by code numbers relating to a particular category of advertiser. Thus, for example, car hire company telephone numbers can be stored in location 01, hotel reservations in location 02 and so on.

FIG. 2 shows a call placing process in which a subscriber communicates with an advertiser. The subscriber, remembering that the car hire company's number is in location 01 as shown at 8, keys in a short code corresponding to the location, such as 01#. The mobile 6 then interrogates the SIM card 7 to retrieve the telephone number from the location. The SIM card 7 provides both the number and the alphanumeric tag giving the company's name and displays it to the subscriber. The user confirms that he wishes to proceed by pressing SEND.

Next, the mobile obtains a voice channel through which the call proceeds to the dialed number. The GSM system automatically handles intra-network and inter-network hops. At this point the subscriber can hold a voice conversation with the company.

Providing the correct equipment has been installed at the company, as soon as the call is answered, subscriber identity information read from the SIM card 7 gives the company immediate customer billing details such as a name and address.

The SIM card 7 also contains information detailing the subscriber's credit account. This information is held in a separate, secure memory location, accessible only when the subscriber enters a mandatory PIN number, known only to himself, thus confirming that the mobile has not been stolen or lost. When the subscriber has confirmed his car hire deal, he enters the PIN number into the mobile 6, requesting the credit information from the SIM card 7. The SIM card 7 supplies the information and the mobile uses existing voice/data techniques to transmit the information to the company, in a format secure against detection by fraudsters. The sale is confirmed by the company or its equipment and the call is terminated.

In this example, it is also possible to obtain a telephone or fax number from the operator-assisted directory enquiries system without the subscriber having to manually enter the number into the communications terminal which he desires to use.

To use this feature, the subscriber calls network directory enquiries and gives the name of the person, company or service of which he wishes to ascertain the telephone number, as well as any additional information requested by the operator answering the call. The operator then locates the number, confirms it and enquires as to whether the number is to be transmitted verbally, transferred over SMS into a given memory location of the subscriber's SIM card or both.

If the subscriber chooses a SIM update, the voice call is terminated and the operator initiates the SMS process by entering a sequence into a computer or pressing a dedicated button. The telephone number is then encoded into an ECS message at the despatch center and is posted across the network to the subscriber's communications terminal, which transmits a confirmation to the despatch center. Thus, the retry mechanism, which operates until such a confirmation is received, is suspended.

The communications terminal recognizes the message as SMS data, passes it to the SIM card, and if capable, displays a "message received" banner. The SIM card in turn recognizes the ECS using special hardware and software, and decodes it accordingly. The number, and any associated alphanumeric tag, which would normally consist of the name of the person or company, are recovered together with the memory location in which they are intended to be stored. The number and name-tag are then written to that location and are write-protected if requested by the subscriber, the overwrite protection being encoded into the message at source.

Subsequently, the subscriber attempts to place a call to the number in the known memory location by keying in the memory location number. The SIM card passes the telephone or fax number to the communications terminal on demand, and upon receipt of the subscriber's confirmation, the communications terminal sets up the call to the desired number.

FIG. 3 shows the electronic structure of the SIM card 7. The card communicates with the mobile to which it is connected via an input/output (I/O) manager 15, preferably using the protocol ISO 7816 T=0. A filter 16 receives incoming data from the I/O manager and detects any ECS messages from among the short messages received. The ECS messages are sent directly to an extended erasable read only memory (E.sup.2ROM) 17, which is preferably a "flash" E.sup.2ROM. Data can also be output from the E.sup.2ROM directly to the I/O manager 15. The remaining blocks shown in FIG. 3 are standard components of a SIM card.

FIG. 4 shows how the E.sup.2ROM is organized. A root directory 18 contains a SIM administration and identifier 19, a GSM directory and network data 20, and a telecom directory 21.

The telecom directory in turn contains memory locations as follows: "abbreviated dial numbers" 22, "capability configuration" 23, "short messages" 24, "fixed dial numbers" 25, and "charging counter" 26. Each block represents a plurality of memory locations. The frequently dialed numbers and corresponding alphanumeric tags are stored at locations 22.

The "abbreviated dial numbers" locations 22 and the "short messages" locations 24 each have an associated locking control file 27, 28, respectively. The locking control files constitute means for read/write protecting and removing read/write protection from their associated memory locations. The locking control files 27, 28 will typically be in the telecom directory 21 as shown, however they can be located elsewhere such as in an administration directory.

FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating the operation of the SIM card 7, which uses the specially fabricated hardware and software which has been described above to implement the operations illustrated. At lozenge 9, messages, requests, and instructions having ECS are distinguished from those without. Each of these ECS types consists of a data stream headed by a command which is one of at least four types: write commands for the messages, read commands for the requests for information, attribute commands for lock or unlock instructions and run commands for instructions to run a program.

The command and data types are decoded at box 10 and acted on in one of the four paths 11-14.

Path 11 handles the write commands to store messages starting at a location specified therein. Path 12 handles the read commands; again, the requests for information contain a location to be accessed first. Successive locations are read and the data stored in a buffer until the required amount of data has been read. The data in the buffer is then encoded into the ECS format and despatched from the mobile using SMS to the calling party.

In path 13, attribute commands are used to lock or unlock specified memory locations and render them accessible or inaccessible, either to calling parties or to the subscriber. In path 14, run commands cause a program stored in the SIM card to be run.

The basic ECS system is expandable to up to 255 internal shell commands of which write, read, lock/unlock and run are four examples. The specific protocol used for the transfer of information is not fixed and could be ISO7816 T=0 or any other suitable protocol.

The internal shell commands are a supplement to the ability of the system to create external file objects within the SIM card 7. The file objects are of two types: Application Data File Programs (ADFP's) containing functional data which can be executed by the SIM card processor and can self modify if required and Application Data Files (ADF's) containing non-functional data which does not have these capabilities. Existing ADF(P)'s can be modified over-the-air enabling advanced facilities such as personalization, re-personalization or downloadable phone book.

The SIM card 7 has a directory structure, similar to that of a computer disk, and new ADF(P)'s can be downloaded into any directory over the air. Also over the air, directories can be created, deleted and modified, multiple tree directory operations can be carried out and ADF(P)'s that are no longer required can be deleted. The amount of ADF(P) data which can be downloaded is limited only by the size of the E.sup.2ROM memory of the card.

The invention, as described, greatly extends the applications of SIM cards. For example, using the Value Added Services Directory, subscribers can book hotels and airline seats over their mobiles quickly and easily.

An additional advantage of this feature of the invention is that the geographical distribution of messages to cards in a specific area such as the South of France is facilitated. Thus advertisers can direct their messages to all mobile subscribers in the specific area. This, is particularly useful when subscribers "roam" from one area to another and have no knowledge of local services.

The directory enquiries download enables contact telephone or fax numbers to be delivered to a subscriber's communications terminal without any intervention by the subscriber. The process of manually entering a number whilst engaged in a call to the operator is often dangerous, especially when the subscriber is driving.

The ability of the system to download ADF(P)'s means that additional services can be added to the SIM card over the air while maintaining total compatibility with the existing cellular system. Thus the SIM card could acquire the functions of a credit card, passport, driving licence, car park pass, membership card and so on, becoming a multi-service card. Also, dynamically updatable services can be added which require a different process to be run each time a service is accessed.

Once the card has extra services on it, it can be used outside of the mobile phone environment if desired as a standalone item. This can be read from or written to by a dedicated piece of hardware, such as a point of sale machine. If desired, the new services can be deleted, however the card will never lose its mobile phone SIM capability. In addition, if the card has extra services, they will continue to function even if the subscriber has been disconnected from the mobile phone network, unless otherwise desired.

Modifications are possible without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the SIM card can be trained only to receive messages detailing services relevant to the subscriber's needs.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification455/466, 455/558
International ClassificationH04W4/06, H04W4/14, H04W84/08, G07F7/08, G06Q20/00, H04M3/493, H04W8/24, H04M11/00, G06Q10/00, G07F7/10, G06Q40/00
Cooperative ClassificationH04L67/125, H04M2250/14, H04M3/4931, G06Q20/363, H04W8/18, G06Q20/341, H04M1/72552, G06Q20/357, H04M1/275, G07F7/0866, G07F7/1008, H04M1/274516, H04W4/14
European ClassificationH04M1/275, G06Q20/363, G06Q20/341, G06Q20/357, H04M3/493D, H04L29/08N11M, G07F7/08C, G07F7/10D, H04W8/18
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