Apple’s Integrated SIM Card Idea Might Be Derailed


Apple is rumored to have plans to sell iPhones with their own SIM cards in Europe but that plan many have hit a snag. GigaOM first reported this at the end of October and no one has heard anything else about it until now. The Financial Times is reporting that yes, the idea is real but carriers are extremely nervous about the idea of being almost completely cut out of the phone part of being a cell phone carrier. In fact, the GSMA—a trade group that represents the majority of cellular carriers—wants to use the concept itself.

The GSMA’s CEO, Rob Conway, said yesterday that, “The embedded SIM will provide assured levels of security and portability for consumers, as well as provide additional functionality for enabling new services such as e-Wallet and NFC applications.” At the same time, it is reported that carriers in Europe are threatening to stop subsidizing Apple’s iPhones if it goes ahead with its own plan to use these imbedded SIM cards and allow customers to simply buy an iPhone and choose a carrier all from Apple’s online store.

Carriers are worried that Apple might just drop the price of its extremely popular iPhone 4—which Apple can certainly afford to do—and sell it directly to customers without them being forced into two-year contracts. Basically, Apple will sell you the hardware and you just choose a glorified Internet service provider (ISP) in the form of a wireless carrier. I think the idea would be excellent, since it would take some of the power away from carriers. Really, carriers charge too much for their services and often simply don’t deliver as promised.

With reports that carriers are threatening to band together to stop Apple from integrating its own SIM cards into iPhones, the idea could be scrapped by Apple. Or Apple could just go ahead and do it anyway and figure out things after the fact. That does seem to be Apples go to strategy when in doubt. If or when iPhones with Apple’s own SIM cards could go on sale is a complete mystery right now in Europe and it will probably take even longer for the technology to show up in the U.S. where carriers have even more power than they do in Europe.

Want to be able to just bypass the hassles of dealing with your carrier and deal with Apple for your entire smartphone experience? Apple getting a little too big for its britches? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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