Apple and Samsung in 'advanced talks' to adopt the new e-SIM card standard

Apple and Samsung in 'advanced talks' to adopt the new e-SIM card standard
The GSM Association, or GSMA for short, is the institution that represents carriers and decides on industry standards, and it has a veritable bombshell to announce pretty soon, it seems. The organization has been working for a while on an embedded e-SIM card standard - you know, the one that got European carriers up in arms against Apple a few years ago - and both Apple and Samsung are in "advanced talks" to join the initiative at launch.

A standardised embedded SIM card would allow devices to switch carrier plans on a whim, and do away with pesky card slots, which somewhat explains the phone makers' excitement - there will be more precious space saved inside their thin smartphones for other components. The carriers that are whispered to carry the e-SIM standard at launch are AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone.

Apple already has an electronic SIM in its latest iPads, though only T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as EE in the UK support it. A few years back, it had an advanced partnership with Gemalto, the largest SIM security provider, for embedding a Subscriber Identity Module in the next iPhone, but European carriers threatened to cut their subsidy for Apple's phones, so the idea was put on ice as too ahead of its time. 

As for when will the e-SIM standard hit, the GSMA had the following to comment: “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.”

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25 Comments

1. drunkenjay

Posts: 1645; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

korea had something like this where there was no simcards and it was embedded into the phone. i think they changed it due to alot of people wanting sim cards.

2. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

I dont want carriers to come with pesky plans and lock the phone down... e-sim is like less control or no control over sim switching... it already take one week to port same sim from one carrier to another

5. tacarat

Posts: 852; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

One week? 12 hours should be the longest. I think something's gone wrong if it takes more than 12 minutes.

9. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

12 hours? may be in US and EU but not other regions

22. tacarat

Posts: 852; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

I'm sorry your companies are like that. It should be all electronic. Is it collusion to keep people from posting their numbers?

10. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

12 hours it's the time between switching the SIM cards in my country not to mention all phones are unlocked here but it's good in its own ways.

18. waddup121 unregistered

what an e-card

23. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

It's CDMA all over again. This is not a best interest of the consumer idea. It makes it harder to switch phones or carriers on a whim.

3. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Nice but should not be like CDMA phones.

7. SitiNurbaya0

Posts: 153; Member since: May 22, 2015

This no SIM phone will fail like CDMA. imagine if you go to other country and out of luck. you canot easily borrow phone too because your sim card is stuck on phone

4. legiloca

Posts: 1675; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Wow.. surprised Etisalat is part of the gang.. Nice

14. SitiNurbaya0

Posts: 153; Member since: May 22, 2015

I think apple want to help network company to have more money --- apple style --- by making it hard to switch network company, and hope we roarming when go to other country

6. tacarat

Posts: 852; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

So what happens if there's a SIM failure? Changing a SIM card, especially an old one, can do wonders for reception or just plain troubleshooting.

8. SitiNurbaya0

Posts: 153; Member since: May 22, 2015

Trading 1cm2 of freedom for apple 'beautiful' garden? No thanks.

11. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Well I'm not in to this what if i want to be disconnected i can't take an e SIM out it can be used for spying and how the hell someone can switch between carriers then should wait for them to do paper work?

12. Simona unregistered

This supposed to be ages ago

13. SitiNurbaya0

Posts: 153; Member since: May 22, 2015

Agree with you. Imagine if you runout of battery and your friend prepaid has no money and canot call with this e-sim, you're 'dead'

15. No_Sammy_No_Gimmicks

Posts: 147; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

I think there are lot of dumb comments here, e-sim is inevitable. With the use of nano sims now, there are no longer ways to reduce their size to save space whilst also increasing their memory. With the next gen network (5G), 256K sim might be required and that chip might not be able to function correctly on a nano sim. E-sim should pretty work the same way as normal sims. You will be able to load multiple numbers on the phone from different carriers, aka multiple sims. It will give you the freedom of being able to switch between carries in an instant.

16. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Yeah but there's Actually no real SIM in the device so there is many things to consider and make it work for example it could be hacked easier. And nano SIM is only have less space no actual benefit other than that.

17. tokuzumi

Posts: 1821; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

If this happens in the US, this will mean all phones will be carrier locked again.

19. ibap

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

Sounds like carrier locking to me.

20. Fellwalker

Posts: 521; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

No sim card slot means easier dust and waterproofing. Wireless Charging and Bluetooth audio could mean completely Sealed phones. Nor any need to take out sim card and wipe the contacts to disperse the static.

21. NateAdam8

Posts: 425; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

But with a eSim can I switch between two devices cause I like using Android and Windows Phone/Mobile...

25. DonShock

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

Device switching was my first concern when I saw this story. I always keep my old phone so that if my current phone fails all I have to do is pop the SIM card in the old one and I'm back in business. Maybe 5 minutes max. If the SIM card is baked in, I have to go to the local carrier store and wait around for them to make the switch over and do it all again with the new phone once I get it repaired or replaced. Lots of wasted hours and effort. Standardizing between carriers is a good idea for a host of reasons such as the plan shopping mentioned. Locking the SIM to the device is a terrible idea.

24. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Bad, bad policy...

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