Apple plans another death blow to the carriers with virtual SIMs

“Each new iPhone is usually good news for mobile network operators,” Alex Webb writes for Bloomberg. “There’s a chance, though, that Wednesday’s arrival of the next generation of iPhones might not be so welcome. That’s because there’s a possibility that Apple could introduce so-called electronic sims, or eSIMs.”

“Even if this doesn’t happen this time around, the shift to the new technology looks inevitable,” Webb writes. “Speculation about eSIMs has been rife since Apple complained to the U.S. Department of Justice that Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. were colluding to prevent their introduction. The DoJ is investigating.”

“The classic SIM card is a small chip that’s inserted into the phone manually – making it more awkward to change your mobile network provider. You have to go to a shop to get a new sim or have one delivered physically. The eSIM is virtual, meaning that just changing your phone’s settings would theoretically allow you to switch carriers,” Webb writes. “It’s almost certain that this would accelerate price competition.”

“European chipmaker STMicroelectronics NV dropped a heavy hint about eSIMs at an investor day in May, saying it expected to deploy its own device in a major mass-market smartphone by the end of the year,” Webb writes. “Whether it’s talking about this year’s iPhone will become known on Tuesday, but it’s hard to see how the mobile phone operators can resist this technology for long given its usefulness for consumers. Apple will certainly argue it that way. It’s already used in some iPads, and STMicro supplies an eSIM for the Apple Watch.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: eSIMs are so convenient, the carriers won’t be able to fight them off forever.

Hong Kong’s late Apple Watch Series 3 debut signals eSIM’s key role in 5G devices – February 2, 2018
How Apple Watch’s innovative eSIM works – October 11, 2017
Apple SIM iPads change the international data roaming game – July 1, 2015
New ‘Apple SIM’ could significantly disrupt the wireless industry – October 17, 2014
Apple SIM card in new iPads challenges mobile networks – October 17, 2014


  1. Probably not this round. Apple is fairly political and just pushing for change over time with this. I would love to see Apple just drop in the eSIM tech this round, telling the carriers “deal with it” and watching T-Mobile jump right in and deliver an App to easily and instantly switch to their service, as would Cricket, PCS and dozens more… No more having to go to a carrier store and do the switch thing, pay for a SIM all that nonsense. Anywhere, any time.

    Indeed, this would put pricing pressure pretty quickly on ATT and Verizon, as I can see people like me saying “Eh, I’ll give T-Mobile and month and see how it goes. If not, I’ll go back or try someone else.”

    That’s a lot of lost customers for the “Big 2” that might not come back.

  2. Most telcos in the US are focused on selling getting new clients by selling hardware.
    I tried to switch to Verizon before the iPX came out and they basically weren’t interested. Essentially said any plan would be the same or more expensive than AT&T.

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