SIM Cards have been growing smaller over time, since their introduction with the first digital mobile phones, the cards have represented a major space hog in handsets. A new initiative being spearheaded by Samsung and Apple, appears to be intending to make those SIM cards disappear in favour of a new embedded SIM card or e-SIM that would allow consumers the ability to swap carriers without the need for a new SIM card.
According to the Financial Times, both Apple and Samsung are in talks with carriers globally about developing and eventually adopting the SIM cards which would in theory make everyone’s life a little easier. According to FT, phone users would be able to access the e-SIM and change carrier based on an interface on the phone rather than slotting in a physical SIM card.
Apple was instrumental in having Nano-SIM’s adopted back in early 2012, when ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) was considering competing standards from Nokia, Research In Motion (RIM) now Blackberry, & then Google-owned Motorola Mobility and of course Apple. Apple sweetened their deal by offering free licensing of Nano-SIM patents if the technology was adopted.
But that was so 2012. Apple has already made headway towards e-SIM, at least in international markets, with their ‘Apple SIM’ that was launched with LTE versions of the iPad Air 2 last year. The Apple SIM allows users to pick a carrier based on a pre-defined list. That didn’t quite make it to our shores, so we’re not sure exactly where Optus, Telstra and Vodafone would stand on that here in Australia.
We’ve reached out to all three local carriers for comment, and Optus for their part has said that they support ‘innovative technology and we consider adoption of new technologies on a case by case basis’. We’ll be sure to update with replies as they roll in.