Apple and Samsung are ready to kill the SIM card

Posted Jul 18, 2015 by James Walker
Apple and Samsung have reportedly teamed up in an effort to replace traditional phone SIM cards with a digital alternative. This would eradicate the need to switch SIM cards between different phones and facilitate free changing between networks.
Women use their cellphones in Los Angeles  California.
Women use their cellphones in Los Angeles, California.
Frederic J. Brown, AFP/File
The Financial Times reports that the world's leading smartphone manufacturers are now in talks with the worldwide organisation that represents mobile networks, the GSMA. The association is apparently "close" to announcing a feasible design for an embedded, digital SIM card.
Mobile networks including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone are all on-board and supporting the move. Anne Bouverot, chief executive of the GSMA, told the Financial Times that all of the concerned parties were heading towards an agreement.
Despite this, the first devices equipped with an e-SIM won't appear for at least a year. The architecture used for the technology has yet to be finalised but the aim is to create a single standard for SIM cards that will be adopted by all manufacturers and networks.
Rather than getting locked into lengthy contracts with one network, the specification will allow you to switch at will, directly from the SIM card embedded in your phone. The SIM would be programmed to work with all of the worldwide operators that support the standard, allowing you to use any network's coverage without having to insert a different physical SIM into your phone.
Such a concept has been seen, in part, before. Apple announced the "Apple SIM" last year which is now available in its range of iPads. The SIM card allows users to choose between networks within iOS but the range is currently relatively limited and only available in select regions.
The system proposed by the GSMA is intended to eventually work universally. Thorsten Müller of Deutsche Telekom explained to the International Business Times that "adding a device to my personal data plan will become as simple as scanning a barcode."
The GSMA is continuing to work with smartphone manufactures and carriers to make such a scenario reality in the not too distant future.