Embedded SIM Cards: Bad for Everyone.


Talk to any cellphone user who knows their stuff and bring up the subject of GSM vs. CDMA. Almost always you’re touch on the topic of SIM cards. Specifically, GSM phones have them while CDMA phones don’t. While there are of course pros and cons to either technology, I find GSM with more victories when all is said and done. The biggest bragging point, however, is the SIM card’s ability to be swapped with other devices quickly and without the need to call a third party to transfer service, configure phones, etc. — a staple feature of CDMA devices. But the cellular world could be rocked if the GSMA’s new embedded SIM card design takes off…

GSMA CEO and board member Rob Conway had the following to say when describing the past of GSM and SIM cards as well as where he sees it going in the coming years:

The traditional SIM has been an important innovation in mobile telephony, and has provided many benefits to consumers in terms of security, portability of contacts, and ease of portability of devices across networks. As our industry moves from connecting phones to connecting a wide range of devices, it is apparent that the embedded SIM could deliver even greater flexibility. The embedded SIM will provide assured levels of security and portability for consumers, as well as provide additional functionality for enabling new services such as e-Wallet and NFC applications.

It’s a shame that Conway sees destroying one of the main reasons million of people love GSM as forward thinking and important for the industry. Embedded SIMs turn a GSM phone into a CDMA-style replica. Remote activation is nifty and all, but you can do that with removable cards too. So I’m not quite sure how this is a big talking point or anything new. Building on that, having built in SIM cards to non-traditional cellular devices doesn’t explain why you can’t have the same remote activations and “from the factory” installation of removable SIM cards. Finally, how is locking out consumer choice and more or less neutering cellphone unlocking in any way “more flexible” or “better for the consumer”?

What the change will do is annoy people, especially power users. Granted, those of you who swap phones on a relatively frequent basis are the minority. So on one hand, not many people would be affected by such a change. But even though I switch phones on average of once a year, having a SIM card that I can instantly swap out and move from phone to phone is wholly more enjoyable and easier than having to call some CSR up to do it for me.

With all that said, the GSMA does have a growing carrier following. Cellular partners on board with the GSMA and committed to investigating and testing embeddable SIM cards include AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, KT, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. It’s looking bad for consumers.

Of course, then there’s the whole issue of the typical “data plan” being chopped up into device-specific, non-transferable data plans which frankly, are a load of rubbish. A data plan is data plan. Save for a few easily configurable network settings, there’s no difference. Yet another way carriers are trying to unfairly lock us into a digital prison. But that argument is best left for another day.

Via: Cellular-news



You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 33,117 bad guys.

Anti-Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

Author: Mike

visit my website

Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!