Apple and Samsung are preparing to kill the SIM card

By Scorpus
Jul 17, 2015
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  1. According to a new report from The Financial Times, both Apple and Samsung are working with the GSMA - the association that represents the mobile telecom industry and supports the GSM standard - to bring an end to traditional SIM cards.

    The replacement for SIM cards will be the e-SIM, an electronic version of a SIM that allows a user to quickly and easily change between mobile networks. Depending on how the specification is finalized, carriers might still be able place restrictions on the e-SIM, although the concept is designed to be more flexible than traditional SIMs.

    The technology will be similar to the Apple SIM that was introduced with the iPad Air 2, allowing users to easily switch between data networks on the tablet. While the Apple SIM could be replaced by users, the e-SIM will be non-removable, allowing the SIM card slot to be removed from smartphones.

    The GSMA is confident that a "common architecture" for the e-SIM will be eventually adopted by the telecom industry. The current proposed e-SIM standard has the backing of major carriers including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Vodafone, Orange, and Telefónica, though it won't be supported by everyone at launch.

    There is still work to be done to get the e-SIM standard ready for the market, although the GSMA is hoping to finalize the specification for launch sometime in 2016. This could mean we'll see e-SIMs supported alongside traditional SIM cards in the next generation of smartphones.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Sanjay Shaw

    Sanjay Shaw TS Rookie

    Great idea.. Looking forward to use it.
    Peter Farkas likes this.
  3. danny22

    danny22 TS Rookie Posts: 16   +9

    Just wait till someone jacks your E-SIM and starts making calls without even needing to steal your phone.
    DaveBG, BSim500 and trgz like this.
  4. bugejakurt

    bugejakurt TS Booster Posts: 157   +15

    Yes E-SIMs need some thought on security, however it is the way forward especially with IOT and 5G
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    $20 on the existence of a backdoor for alphabet soup agencies. Who wants in/to take the other side?
    MongooseTechie likes this.
  6. Man! This is some great new tech..... oh wait it already exists, it is called CDMA.

    I don't like this idea as I have had bad experience's changing my phone to different carriers with CDMA, GSM I just pop the SIM out and pop new one in and BAM changed carrier.

    Heck I could even temp change carrier or plans within the carrier to balance my data across 2 plans using GSM and two sim cards that I alternated.
    MongooseTechie and cmbjive like this.
  7. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 820   +389

    I think everyone would lose their $20 to this bet :p
    MongooseTechie likes this.
  8. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 862   +353

    I don't blame the manufacturers for wanting to incorporate an electronic sim card. Less hardware hassles, less chance of connection problems, less expense, but, the line about making it easier to switch between networks, well the hardware guys might make them that way, but you can bet (at least in the USA) the carrier owners won't make it "easy".
    I also hope they really take security into the design idea, or this could be a nightmare. Perhaps tie the e-sim to the imei number or a hash from the hardware.
    MongooseTechie and Timonius like this.
  9. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    I was going to say the same thing.
    MongooseTechie likes this.
  10. Liana

    Liana TS Rookie

    If e-sim means having to call my carrier whenever I want to switch phones, I don't want anything to do with it.
    MongooseTechie likes this.
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,158   +599

    If you are in domestic U.S., you need to have an unlocked phone for this to work. Given that, while traveling in Europe, this is the technique to avoid U.S. provider roaming charges (insert localized SIM).

    So now then with the e-Sim proposal, we can't do that and we gravitation to world wide locked phones with roaming charges????? Concerned !
  12. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 529   +143

    CDMA does not support a system where a phone can be unlocked to a carrier... ever.
  13. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    But CDMA does support not having to use a SIM card...ever.
  14. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 529   +143

    You said this in your previous comment.
  15. In my last post I basically agreed with the poster. In the second response, I stated the reason why I agreed with the poster. The point is CDMA does not require a SIM card, which was the original poster's and my point. That doesn't negate your point, which is true, up to a point. Some CDMA phones can be unlocked and used on other networks.
  16. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 529   +143

    Never mind, I thought you were trying to say that everyone should move back to CDMA.
  17. That should not happen because if your phone breaks and you'll have to get another one. how are you going to use it with eSIM??
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Your first phone was setup somehow, I'm sure the replacement can be setup the same way. If the eSIM works then maybe there is a way to back it up.
    Timonius likes this.
  19. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 638   +56

    Yes there will most likely be a cloud based solution. That's the trend, and the 'excuse' is performance and convenience.

    Sim cards are just another part of a phone that is subject to unnecessary wear and tear.
  20. HiDDeNMisT

    HiDDeNMisT TS Booster Posts: 220   +14

    I kinda like the idea.
  21. Soooo, lets see, Samsung, the people that brought you spying on your systems and you without notice, and after major protest, THEN gave you spying on your systems and you WITH notice aannnddd, Apple, the people that only want you to be able to do what they say you need and nothing else, are getting to gether to put a non-user controllable personalized part in every phone they sell that uniquely identifies you and requires you to register and store your contacts and data with them. No fully controlled advertising customization here. No sir. The KGB and Google would be proud of their thinking.

    Remembering also that Apple conspired with Google to control industry wide computer tech pay, this looks much like the same attempt at monopoly control methods emerging.

    Not really seeing an upside to the two biggest players getting together rather than competing.

    Frankly, the easier method would be two separate SIM cards. One for the carrier you're wishing to use at that moment and one for your personal info. Change the one your phone fits any country you buy the SIM to use in. Change phones, just move the other or both. Data standards, not hardware, would make that possible.
    MongooseTechie likes this.
  22. sadman3

    sadman3 TS Enthusiast Posts: 126

    So when you change to e-sim your not going to reload it? I think the Sim Card would still work best. Changing sim is not a problem because phones now a days have dual sim slots. They could even receive messages in both sim cards at once. What's the problem with it?
    MongooseTechie likes this.
  23. MongooseTechie

    MongooseTechie TS Rookie

    Ah another overly-enthusiastic, "positivity is everything", naive South Asian on a tech article. Note, that's a cultural observation, not a racial one (I shouldn't even have to say this, but feeble minds confuse the two issues). Thanks, with all of the tech companies being so pro-consumer, never needing challenging (note sarcasm) we need more of this sycophant "it's new so it must be good", sleep-walking-into-technological-slavery, culture!
  24. MongooseTechie

    MongooseTechie TS Rookie

    Yeah because durability is the first thing planned-obsolescence phone manufacturers care about, rather than enabling spying on you without ability to physically-challenge that spying...
    Timonius likes this.
  25. MongooseTechie

    MongooseTechie TS Rookie

    - and if there's a way to back it up, via software-only, then there's a way to clone and hack it via software only. Physical-linked security tokens have less problems in this regard (banks still use Smart Cards for employee authentication, for example).

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