Apple and Samsung – along with several others in the telecoms industry – might be gearing up to get rid of the need for a traditional user-swappable SIM card.
According to the Financial Times, the two companies are working with the GSMA – the association that runs the GSM telephone system used by T-Mobile, AT&T in the US and most carriers worldwide – to implement an E-SIM (embedded SIM) card.
Whereas a traditional SIM card associates you with specific networks, an E-SIM would allow a device to switch between carriers instantly. As the name implies, however, this chip wouldn’t be user accessible; but then again, there’s no reason for it to be.
The E-SIM not expected to immediately supplant the traditional SIM however, as those are currently too widely adopted. Still, support already appears to be widespread: AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone are all expected to support the new standard so far. If more carriers and manufacturers sign up, it’s likely the traditional SIM will go the way of the dodo on consumer devices.
Apple’s support for the standard wouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Last year, Apple introduced its own SIM chip for the iPad Air 2, which allowed you to switch carriers while traveling without ever having to remove the chip from the device.
➤ Apple, Samsung in talks with telecom groups to launch e-Sim card [Financial Times]
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Published July 16, 2015 — 15:54 UTC