How Apple’s next iPhone threatens Verizon, AT&T, other carriers

Tiernan Ray for Barron’s:

The next model of Apple’s iPhone, expected this fall, may have a surprise that’s more profound than a rumored orange color option.

It may be the debut of something called the “eSIM,” which could have very big implications for AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint, and T-Mobile US.

The eSIM is not a card, it is a chip that can be soldered to the circuit board of the phone at the factory. The most obvious advantage is that it obviates the need for a tray, which means a device can be smaller. More important is that the eSIM is designed to be programmed remotely, “over the air.” … It can potentially allow a phone user to switch carriers at will, simply by signing up for deals from a variety of operators and having the phone immediately switched over, like an easier version of “prepay” cards. Apple’s cellular iPads already allow this capability, even without an eSIM.

Craig-Hallum’s Anthony Stoss this morning wrote that chip giant STMicroelectronics, which provides chips for eSIM, “may have won” business from Apple to put an eSIM in the upcoming iPhone models expected to be released this fall, based on his “checks.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s 2019. We already have eSIMs in our Apple Watches and iPads. Bring on the eSIM in iPhones, already! The more the carriers have to compete for business, the better!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. iPhone XS and XS Max already have eSims. The author is right but he’s also just another flunky like Citizen X, he thinks he knows something special but what he thinks the iPhone will get, it already has.

  2. I don’t know that eSims will do anything.
    Carriers in the US aren’t interested in adding clients unless they purchase a phone. The pricing of the big carriers is about the same so there isn’t much incentive to change.

  3. The device can be smaller! How about the same size device with a higher capacity battery? Apple should have no need to make a slimmer iPhone.

    Is this eSim really something that carriers are concerned about. Would most consumers be constantly switching carriers even if it were possible, especially if certain areas aren’t served as well by different carriers? I’d hardly think this is any game-changer for Apple. If it were, every smartphone manufacturer would be doing it. More important than eSims, will many consumers even be buying the next iPhone?

  4. I think more is being made of this that it deserves. Getting a sim really isn’t a big deal. Getting, and paying for, a contract is a big deal. This doesn’t change that.

  5. One thing to remember is that a lot of people get their iPhones from a carrier, which is the only way they can afford them. That means that the iPhone is locked to the carrier and the oner needs to pay off the phone. Not an immediate switch over for many. Unless Apple developers a program to act as an intermediate for both carriers. $30 or so and Apple will unlock the iPhone from Carrier A, switch the phone to Carrier S and lock it to Carrier S. That would provide the safety for the Carriers and well as yet another revenue stream.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.