Apple, Samsung in Talks with Carriers to Launch ‘e-SIM’ Cards [Report]

The Financial Times reports Apple and Samsung have reportedly agreed to launch electronic SIM cards, as talks are being finalized with mobile operators.

Unlike traditional SIM cards, electronic SIM cards would change the way customers sign up with carriers. Electronic SIM cards would allow for instant switching, eliminating the need for consumers to insert specific SIM cards from mobile operators.

First carrier partners for these e-SIM cards are said to include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone.

The industry association GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association) told the Financial Times, “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.”

The association also noted it was “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.”

Anne Bouverot, chief executive of the GSMA, said “We have got everyone back on one point, with Apple and Samsung agreeing to be part of that specification,” while also noting “We have been working with them and others to create an industry solution for machines and will agree a solution for consumer electronics.”

Last fall, Apple debuted their own Apple SIM within cellular iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 models, which allowed for quick switching of carriers between AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK.

Currently, Rogers, TELUS and Bell do not support Apple SIM, as Apple’s iPad checkout page still asks customers to add respective nano SIM cards to their cart.

Rumours of Apple’s built-in SIM cards dated back as far as 2010, when it was reported the company was said to be working with SIM card maker Gemalto and have a system integrated into the iPhone.