European Carriers Against Apple’s Idea Of Embedding SIM Card In Future iPhones
We recently reported that Apple is working on a programmable, custom-SIM card that could be embedded in future iPhones. The SIM card solution designed by Spanish company Gemlato would allow iPhone buyers to select the operator of their choice while purchasing the iPhone. The embedded SIM would then be flashed with all information needed for it to function on the selected network.
The governing body of the global GSM players, the GSM Association (GSMA) recently announced that a task force would be formed to find out how such technology could be adopted. Representatives of various cellular networks have been asked to compile a list of requirements that they think would be needed to bring this proposal to fruition in a way that everyone stands to win. The deadline for this is by January 2011. If all goes well, we might see the embedded SIM laden iPhone by 2012.
As per Financial Times, several European carriers are against this entire idea. In fact, they have already (internally) threatened to withdraw subsidies on the iPhone if Apple does implement this technology on the future iPhone. The bone of contention for the operators is that Apple here is trying to “control” the relationship between the consumer and the network. As mentioned earlier, if this plan is implemented, people could buy their phones and sign up on the Apple website for their network of choice and start using the phone right away – without much involvement of the network.
They’re right to be worried. In Europe in particular, where customers frequently roam out of their native carrier’s networks, a reprogrammable SIM module would allow customers to easily switch to the best network in the area they are in. Americans will be able to enjoy the same luxury when AT&T’s exclusivity deal ends.
Slowly but surely, carriers are becoming mere service providers in the mobile iOS experience. From a consumerist’s point of view, that’s a good thing, but don’t expect the carriers not to kick about it.
Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar claims that based on his sources, Apple has dropped its plans for now. Kumar reports:
“Apple is relenting,” said Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar. “They are now completely backing away from their plan to take the carrier out of the equation,” said Kumar, who discovered the change in plan after talking with Apple suppliers and manufacturing sources.
[Source: Financial Times]