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The Financial Times reports that Samsung
and Apple are both in talks with the GSMA, the mobile telecom telecom industry association, to
begin employing electronic SIM
cards in their mobile devices.
Electronic SIMs (or e-SIMs) differ from their physical predecessors in that
they don't lock users into a specific carrier network and would allow them to
switch any device between an network instantly. So, remember how when the iPhone
debuted, it was only available on
AT&T? That won't happen with e-SIMs -- any phone, tablet or network-enabled
gadget will work with any carrier that supports the technology. Apple iatself
actually tried its own take on e-SIMS with the last generation of iPads, though
only T-Mobile and AT&T supported that feature.
while the association is confident that a "common architecture" will
eventually be adopted by the entire industry, we're still at least a year away
from actually seeing a device with these cards. "With the majority of
operators on board," Anne Bouverot, chief executive of the GSMA, told Financial
Times. "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."