Apple, Samsung Mull Embedded SIM for Mobile Devices
Smartphone giants Apple (AAPL) and Samsung, along with other manufacturers, are poised to replace the standard SIM cards in their mobile devices with embedded SIM technology (E-SIM), according to a Financial Times report.
The vendors reportedly are engaged in “advanced talks” with the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), a mobile standards organization dating to 1995 used by T-Mobile (TMUS), AT&T (T) and other carriers, to implement E-SIM technology across device makers.
GSMA officials are said to be close to unveiling an agreement to develop a standardized E-SIM for mobile devices that will include those from Apple and Samsung, the report said. Network carriers AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone are expected to support the GSMA deal.
Anne Bouverot, GSMA chief executive, told the Financial Times that the discussions involved an agreement for a “common architecture.”
Apple last year introduced its own iPad SIM card but it hasn’t gained wide support from carriers. The GSMA E-SIM could be used on future generations of the vendor’s iPhones but for now it’s not expected to replace the Apple SIM, the report said.
GSMA officials said the group is “continuing to work with Apple to secure their support for the initiative. While we are optimistic, a formal agreement with them is still in progress,” the Financial Times reported.
With or without Apple and Samsung, the GSMA said devices supporting the E-SIM standard will not reach the market for at least a year based on completing the technical specifications.
“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,” GSMA officials said.
A consumer device E-SIM agreement would build on an existing GSMA specification to manage machine-to-machine connections for devices such as utility meters and traffic lights. Apple and Samsung apparently are onboard with that deal, Bouverot said.
“We have got everyone back on one point, with Apple and Samsung agreeing to be part of that specification,” she said. “We have been working with them and others to create an industry solution for machines and will agree on a solution for consumer electronics.”