Apple abandons embedded SIM plan

Michael Carroll
23 Nov 2010

Apple has abandoned plans for introducing an embedded SIM to the iPhone 5 after European carriers threatened to stop subsidizing iPhones.

The device-maker acted to safeguard supply of its flagship smartphone after carriers including O2 and Vodafone warned they would stop giving the iPhone away to customers who sign up to two-year contracts, the UK Sunday Telegraph reports.

One telecoms executive told the Telegraph that Apple had been “sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs,” after years of trying to cut operators out of the loop.

However, the manufacturer could still embed SIMs into its iPad, the newspaper said citing the same source.

Industry sources that while Apple had decided not to add the embedded to the iPhone 5 – due to launch next year – it had not given up on the project.

Apple has been working with smartcard firm Gemalto on an embedded SIM for the iPhone, which would allow customers to choose their own network when activating the device.

The set-up would effectively allow consumers to become roamers selecting networks from a list in iTunes for a day, a week, a month or a year.

While operators acted quickly to preserve their relationship with end-users, recent research from iPass shows they have already lost their grip on business users, who now choose devices based on features and functionality rather than network provider.

MORE ARTICLES ON: Apple, Gemalto, O2, Smartcards, Smartphones, Vodafone

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