Well, this is fascinating. There have been rumours going around for a while now that Apple is working with Gemalto on an integrated sim card, allowing customers to choose their own carrier and then activate the phone through Apple. European mobile phone carriers aren’t particularly pleased with this.
It’s a conundrum. Do I hand over more control to Apple, or do we keep things the way they are? Many Americans would probably like to see their carriers taken down a notch, but at least here in The Netherlands, pro-consumer laws governing mobile phone service and the accompanying contracts are solid, and as a consumer, it’s quite easy to switch carriers. Other forms of control – crapware, capability limitations – are rare too, as far as I can tell.
In other words, I personally do not see much reason to transfer control from the carriers to mobile phone makers such as Apple, but then again, I’m sure many Americans would disagree, and maybe some of my fellow Europeans as well. In any case, carriers in Europe aren’t pleased with Apple and Gemalto’s plans.
“The operators are privately saying they could refuse to subsidise the iPhone if Apple inserts an embedded subscriber identity module, or Sim card,” Andrew Parker reports for The Financial Times (a dinosaur behind a paywall, sadly), “The operators are accusing Apple of trying to gain control of their relationship with their mobile customers with the new Sim.”
If carriers indeed were to refuse to subsidise iPhones, Apple’s sales would obviously take a major hit. Few people pay the full price for a smartphone, relying on contracts instead – those people are just going to pick something else instead of an iPhone.