In what might end up being the end of an era in telecom packages the major smartphone makers Apple and Samsung are moving to force suppliers to telco agnostic Sim cards.
The technology first appeared in the iPad Air 2, which ditched typical carrier-linked SIM cards in favour of an Apple one that let users switch freely and easily between multiple providers.
Now it seems that both Apple and its rival Samsung want to bring that technology to the cut-throat smartphone market.
Apple and Samsung have joined the push to standardise these newer embedded electronic SIM (e-SIM) cards with the GSM Association, which represents many worldwide carriers.
Anne Bouverot, the GSMA’s chief executive, said that involved companies are all working on an agreement for a standard to drive the technology, and make it work across carriers and countries. The report says that carriers expected onboard include Orange, Vodafone, AT&T, Hutchison Whampoa, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, and Telefónica.
This will be good for consumers but not so hot for the carriers and their channel partners who could lock the technology into their own networks, making it difficult for users to escape. Changing suppliers is a headache if you have to swap sim cards and it also means global roaming is easier.
Telcos have also been pretty slow when it comes to providing updates for Android resulting in fragmentation.
In a statement, the GSMA said that the majority of operators were on board. The plan is to finalise the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016.
It will be a year after that before any products hit the shelves.