Apple and Samsung to make the traditional SIM card disappear

17 Jul 2015

The traditional, removable SIM card is to disappear as phone makers like Apple and Samsung push for embedded versions inside devices.

The SIM card as we know it is about to disappear forever. Apple and Samsung are in talks with the GSM Association (GSMA) about plans to launch electronic, embedded SIM cards to replace the traditional, removable SIM card.

Apple and Samsung are gearing up for the new generation of SIMs to appear inside new devices in 2016.

An embedded or digital SIM would enable consumers to avoid being locked into a plan with a mobile operator.

The move could fundamentally change how consumers sign up to mobile operators, making it likely that new phone buyers could be presented with a menu of operators to choose from when they unbox their shiny new devices.

Apple has already deployed its own SIM cards for use in iPads with EE in the UK and AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.

RIP SIM card

It is understood that the GSMA is close to announcing an agreement for the industry to produce a standardised embedded SIM for consumer devices.

Operators onboard with the development include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefonica and Etisalat.

GSMA chief executive Anne Bouverot said that the industry is heading in the direction of an agreement for a “common architecture.”

“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,” the GSMA told the Financial Times.

SIM card image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years