Apple may be stuck with AT&T as iPhone carrier (for now anyway) in the U.S. In Europe, consumers do have multiple carriers to choose from. It is not surprising to see Apple wanting to make life easier for its customers by developing its own SIM card. Wouldn’t it be nice if iPhone fans could choose their carrier and activate their phone without having to jump through hoops? Apple and Gemalto are rumored to have created a SIM card that does just that. It will be integrated into iPhone to enable iPhone owners to choose their carriers without having to calling them or visiting their stores.
Even if the rumors are true, there will be people who will want to call the carriers and talk to their staff. But there is no reason to force everyone to do so. Apple’s SIM Card will probably work well in Europe. The U.S. market is not ready for such a development. Not yet anyway. Most experts do believe Apple iPhone will be on more carriers (beyond Verizon and AT&T) in the near future. Apple’s SIM Card can take carriers out of the process and make life more convenient for iPhone owners. Will wireless carriers accept this?
Google did try to take a similar approach with Nexus One. Nexus One’s launch was a disaster by all means. Google tried to get around carriers and reduce their roles. Apple could take this to the next level with its own SIM card. There are many other challenges to this approach. For starters, if such a SIM card is introduced in the U.S., will people pay the full price for Apple iPhone? Carriers do count on their relationship with customers for marketing purposes too. It is not clear whether they would be happy with a reduced role.
It is safe to say we won’t be seeing Apple SIM Card in the U.S. anytime soon. Not when we are still waiting for CDMA iPhone and iPhone 5 to make their debut in 2011. Once those devices are established and more carriers are on board, anything is possible.
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