With the launch of the iPad Air 2, Apple launched its own software-based SIM card (or e-SIM) that allows users to select different mobile phone networks and change service on the fly. Rumours that such a card would make its way to the next iPhone appeared quickly, and now a report confirms that Samsung and Apple are both in talks with wireless carriers and other handset companies to bring the system to all mobile phones.
Samsung promotes e-SIM card
The idea is that there should be a universal, worldwide standard for embedded SIMs (hence the name e-SIM) that are built into phones, and cannot be removed by users (as there is nothing to remove). That would allow customers to sign up to any network service they wanted and also switch almost at any time. There are obvious benefits for devices too – SIM card slots take up a lot of space on mobile phones, and by removing a physical card, devices can become slimmer and save power.
With Samsung and Apple both in the talks, the technology stands a good chance of becoming a universal standard on Android phones and the iPhone.
Mobile companies taking part in the talks include AT&T, Deutsche Telekon, Vodafone, Orange, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa (which owns “3”), and Telefónica. It remains to be seen if other operators will get on board, but if future smartphones come with this technology, it’s probably a wise move.
Plans for the e-SIM have not yet been finalised, but the group working on the new standard hopes to have it ready some time in 2016.