Apple SIM – One SIM to rule them all and in the land of Apple….
Apple’s iPad Air 2 was unveiled at a special launch last week. A sleeker new design and reported 12 times faster processing than the iPad 1. Buried in Apple’s typically well staged launch festivities was a piece of news that could seriously rock the telecommunications industry.
- Quietly included in Apple’s announcement of the iPad Air 2, Apple has revealed that users with the Wi-Fi and cellular models in the US and the UK will be able to switch Telcos at ease, without changing SIMs.
The concept is that the Apple SIM will give subscribers the ability to choose short-term plans from selected carriers. This means that subscribers can switch plans and operators at the drop of a hat without the need to switch out there is SIM card. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile (US) have already signed up to take part in the deal.
Apple is marketing the new Apple SIM as perfect traveler companion, however the implications go well beyond the roaming segment. While this is a promising turn of events for consumers, it may have massive ramifications for telecom operators.
- Carriers will be hoping “there’s no way in hell those SIMs go into iPhones,” says Stephen Stokols, CEO of FreedomPop, a free wireless internet and phone startup that provides connectivity for iPhones. ”That would be detrimental to every carrier in the U.S.”
Forbes seems to think that we’re not likely to see the Apple SIM showing up in the iPhone anytime soon.
- Typically in the U.S. and other countries, people buy smartphones through a carrier and the resulting contract keeps them locked into that network for one or two years. With Apple SIM for the iPhone, there’s the possibility of choosing vendors from the comfort of their home after buying the iPhone from an Apple store, forcing vendors to get more creative and competitive on price to attract their money.
- Yet this is unlikely, at least for a while. The iPhone contributes more than two thirds of Apple’s profits, and most of those iPhone are subsidized by carriers. Apple wouldn’t be able to shift anywhere near as many iPhones as it does today if the devices all costed $850 unlocked, versus $400 with an AT&T plan, Stokols points out.
I guess Apple figured operators are struggling enough. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.