While Apple hasn’t officially announced intentions to use an embedded SIM in its iPhone, some European carriers are already such a move could put too much control in Apple’s hands. Apple recently started working with the wireless security company Gemalto, whose programmable over the air SIM card solutions are used in big pilot projects for mobile payments in Europe. These chips has both read-only and regular flash, which could allow activating an iPhone via an App Store download for any given network, presumably to simplify life for European users
GSM Association had already planned to work with carriers, including major US ones, on a joint standard for embedded in handsets subscriber identity module, or a SIM card, as generally known. That’s one association and some of its carrier members, mind you. When the most profitable cell phone manufacturer in the world wants to do a similar thing, some double standard seemingly kicks in, and there are now riots in carrier land.
According to the Financial Times, some operators are “accusing Apple of trying to gain control of their relationship with the new SIM. What worries the European carriers is that” An embedded SIM would allow a customer to purchase an iPhone at an Apple store, and then choose their carrier independently. The Financial Times says that Vodafone, France Telecom, and Telefonica are among those concerned with the embedded SIM. The Financial Times said one executive claimed Apple could be facing a war with European’s wireless carriers should it move to such a solution.
Afraid they will be left out in the cold as mere spectrum suppliers, if Apple decides to put an embedded SIM card in the next iPhone, some major European carriers are to cut subsidies for the iPhone, if Apple goes ahead with the idea. In private talks Vodafone UK, France Telecom and Telefonica in Spain have expressed concerns about Apple’s move, and a senior executive was even cited that Apple risks “war” with them, if these plans move along.
Yesterday, the GSMA announced an initiative that it hopes will make embedded SIM solutions widespread across consumer electronic devices ranging from MP3 players to personal navigation devices.