Apple, Samsung Headline Telecom Group Pushing For Versatile e-SIM Cards

Apple and Samsung don’t always see eye-to-eye, and we have years of countless lawsuits to backup that statement. However, every once in a while, the two companies come together to push innovative initiatives that help to advance the tech products that we use everyday. The proposed e-SIM standard is one of those ideas that sounds great on paper, and could turn out to be a huge boon for customers in the real world.

An e-SIM is essentially an embedded SIM card that is not accessible by the end-user. But that shouldn’t concern you, as the e-SIM would allow you to choose wireless carriers within software at any time instantaneously. So customers wouldn’t be tied to one particular carrier, and switching to another carrier wouldn’t require purchasing and installing a new SIM card.

A number of the world’s largest wireless carrier are behind the efforts including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom (parent company to T-Mobile), Orange, Telefónica, and Vodafone. “With the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalize 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,” said GSMA chief executive Anne Bouverot in an interview with the Financial Times.

Apple SIM
Apple SIM provides an easy way to switch carrier from the iOS Settings app

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Apple introduced a similar concept with the cellular versions of the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 last year. The Apple SIM allows U.S. customers to easily switch between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint networks within iOS. Verizon Wireless was the odd man out, opting not to join in on the festivities.

But the most criticism was reserved for AT&T, which decided to lock customers to its network with the Apple SIM once its network was chosen from the list of wireless providers. Sprint and T-Mobile didn’t participate in such shenanigans and let customers switch back and forth between carriers at will.

The Apple SIM is currently available to use in 90 countries worldwide.