In Case of Emergency (ICE) Information on the SIM card

During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, I heard from Adrian Scrase for the first time that 3GPP has specified how to put information on the SIM card for "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) events, i.e. to help first responders to identify someone and to contact their next of kin.

A great idea and now that it is specified it will hopefully become a worldwide accepted feature. It's not in current phones and SIM cards yet so it will take a couple of years for the feature to be added. Let's keep our fingers crossed a critical mass is reached so people actually enter information and first responders actually use the feature.

As somebody asked me over at Forum Oxford at how it will work in practice, I've had a look at the standards:

  • The user enters ICE information like names of persons, relation to these persons and phone numbers. For details see 3GPP TS 22.101, A28
  • During an emergency, the information can be retrieved by pressing '* * *'. That's specified in 3GPP TS 22.030, 6.8
  • The information is stored in a new file on the SIM card referred to as EF(ICE_DN) and the format is described in 3GPP TS 31.102

2 thoughts on “In Case of Emergency (ICE) Information on the SIM card”

  1. Martin, a much simpler way – and one proposed by an Ambulance worker in Australia some years ago….

    Just make a contact in your phone address book called ICE – and put your next of kin information there.

    In Case of Emergency, the paramedics or Police simply look in your phone for the ICE entry – you can do this now – no need for standards!

    Everyone reading this post should put their next of kin in their phone as ICE.

    Andrew Grill

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the comment!

    The ICE entry in the address book is a great idea for English speaking countries.

    However, in most non-English speaking countries, people have never heard of it and the abbreviation would be quite different.

    So I think standardizing the feature is a very worthwhile and useful project so it works the same everywhere and people can roam from / to non-English speaking countries and emergency care workers can still detect their emergency information.

    Also from a handling point of view the “***” to get to the information is straight forward. No need to figure out how to unlock the phone, no need to figure out how the address book works, ICE information is even available before the PIN is typed in (if I remember right).

    But, it will take many years before (hopefully) a critical mass is reached.


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