Apple to Knock Carriers Out of the Equation?

By Cindy Waxer October 27, 2010

Kiss your wireless carrier goodbye. GigaOM reports that Apple has partnered with digital security firm Gemalto to create a custom SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the Internet or at the Apple Store and activate their devices with any number of carriers without requiring direct interaction.

SIM card or Subscriber Identity Module is a portable memory chip that allows users to switch to a new phone by simply sliding the SIM out of the old phone and into the new one. Contained on the SIM is personal identity information, your cell phone number, text messages and other confidential data.

In the case of Apple and Gemalto, a subscriber’s identification information will be integrated into the iPhone itself. Customers will be allowed to either select their carrier at the time of purchase at the Apple web site or retail store, or buy the phone and get their handset up and running through a download at the App Store, reports GigaOm.

That’s a huge relief to consumers tired of calling a carrier only to be put on hold for hours on end. Or worse, stopping by a carrier store and finding yourself in a labyrinthine line-up. Using a custom SIM card, on the other hand, consumers would be able to cut out the middleman – the carrier – altogether, for speedy and pain-free service.

As for Apple, GigaOM reports that a custom SIM card would “create an easy way to sell a handset via the web without carrier involvement. Much like it helped cut operators out of the app store game, Apple could be taking them out of the device retail game. Yes, carriers will still have to allow the phone to operate on their networks, which appears to be why executives from various French carriers have been to Cupertino in recent weeks.”

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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