Apple, Samsung Want To Kill Off The SIM Card

The days of wrangling with physical SIM cards could soon be coming to an end if plans from some of the technology industry’s biggest names are successful.

The GSM Association (GSMA), the body that governs much of the world’s mobile and telecommunications work, has revealed it is currently in talks with manufacturers to discuss the abolishing of SIM cards.

This includes major players such as Apple and Samsung, who are keen to see the introduction of e-SIM cards that are embedded directly in the device and can then be quickly reprogrammed to work with any applicable mobile operators around the world.

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The GSMA is understood to have been developing an end-to-end remote SIM solution for some time, and showed off several proof-of-concept demonstrations at Mobile World Congress earlier in the year, with the hope that the new standard will be ready by early 2016.

The move would give mobile users a much greater degree of freedom in switching network provider, giving them the ability to instantly change networks without needing to swap out a SIM.

“With the majority of operators 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,” a GSMA spokesperson told the Financial Times.

Such a move would remove the need for users travelling to different countries to have multiple native SIM cards in order to avoid being hit with major charges.

Apple already has a similar solution which enables certain iPad models containing pre-installed SIM cards to automatically switch between networks, although the service only currently works in the UK and US. Apple SIM, which launched in October 2014, was however only available on certain networks, with EE the only UK network to support it.

How much do you know about UK mobile operators? Try our quiz!

Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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