Rivals Apple and Samsung have teamed up for talks with mobile services providers in a bid to develop and implement new standards for the SIM card, making it easy for users to switch between the various mobile service providers. The talks also involve the GSMA, a body charged with the mandate of representing mobile operators worldwide. Once the talks are finalized, GSMA will announce the standardized sim card for consumer devices. Already, similar standards are being implemented on devices such as utility meters and traffic lights, where physical sim cards cannot be easily changed.
According to the Financial Times, the standardized SIM card will be referred to as embedded SIM or e-SIM and would remain inside the user’s devices. This will in turn offer the user the ability to switch carriers without necessarily getting a new card but will instead gave them locking into a specific carrier all through their device’s operating system. Currently, a user is locked into the network using the SIM card but the new standards will allow the users to lock themselves. Some of the mobile service operators that support the move include AT&T, Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat, according to FT.
GSMA expects the new standards are expected to come into play in 2016, with the parties involved heading towards an agreement with regards to the development on the common architecture for end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices. Apple has already made significant strides in a similar direction with the launch of its SIM cards for its Apple iPad range of tablets. The solution known as the Apple SIM allows users to switch between mobile networks from with iOS, with plans to include the same in the next generation iPhone devices.
Off course such a solution would mean intense competition between mobile network operators, with smaller players finding it particularly useful when taking the battle to the bigger players.