Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

2019 Expanding the SIM Card Use for Public Safety Challenge

Banner including an image of SIM card and text reading "Challenge Winners Announced, Expanding the SIM Card Use for Public Safety Challenge"

 Congratulations to the winners of the Expanding the SIM Card Use for Public Safety Challenge for proving the possibility of using the SIM Card for mobile application authentication!

Since April 2019, contestants explored whether the SIM card can be used as a storage container for public safety mobile application credentials. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division reached out to solvers globally to participate in a competition aimed at improving public safety operation through innovative improvements to SIM card functionality. The goal of this research was to raise awareness of the need for convenient, standards-based, two-factor authentication for emergency responders, while demonstrating an innovative approach to authentication that could lead to future innovations.

Challenge teams completed the following phases:

  • Phase 1 — Concept Paper: successful contestants documented a clear understanding of the contest objectives and proposed an approach to securely store and then use first responder authentication credentials on a SIM card.
  • Phase 2 — File Stored on SIM Card: successful contestants demonstrated, via video webinar and screen share, their processe to provision, store the file on the SIM card, and navigation through the SIM card file structure to the file’s location.
  • Phase 3 — Verified Authentication: successful contestants demonstrated their mobile application's ability to access credentials stored on the SIM card and authenticate to FIDO2 services, which were provided in this prize competition by our challenge partners at Nok Nok Labs and IBM. 

Participating teams were awarded prizes at each phase of the challenge with up to $100,000 in total available prizes. The judging panel announced challenge winners October 23, 2019 after performing the final evaluation of contestants' mobile applications, source code, hardware devices with SIM cards, and instructions. The judging panel and subject matter experts included individuals from APCO International, First Responder Network Authority, Motorola Solutions, Qualcomm, Texas Department of Public Safety and NIST PSCR.

Click here to read a Q&A about this Challenge with PSCR Security Lead John Beltz. 

PSCR would like to thank all teams who participated in the Expanding the Sim Card Use for Public Safety Challenge and for their hard work and dedication to creating innovative technologies for the public safety community. Congratulations to the top three winners of Phase 3!

SoloSIM logo

1st Place - $30,000

Creativity in Public Safety Award - $4,000
Most Commercially Promising Award - $3,500

SoloSIM: Authenticating Online Using Your SIM Card and FIDO2
SoloSIM: Authenticating Online Using Your SIM Card and FIDO2


B.EST Solutions logo

2nd Place - $15,000

B.EST Solutions

Fortifyedge logo with brail below

3rd Place - $7,500


For more information on the Challenge including additional details on the opportunity timeline, contest stages, and more, visit


Created April 1, 2019, Updated July 19, 2022