Skip to main content

Embedded SIM cards will let you switch carriers on the fly, and carriers are supporting it in droves

sim swap fraud payfone patent identity theft news cards
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Could the days of swapping SIM cards shortly be behind us? If Apple and Samsung, as well as the GSM Association, have their way, then that’s the future we will have, according to the Financial Times.

The current setup has consumers switching SIM cards whenever they want to change carriers. However, the newly-proposed e-SIM card is embedded within the device itself, and is reprogrammable to work with any supported carrier.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because Apple pushed forward with something similar in Apple SIM with the LTE version of the iPad Air 2. Where e-SIM differentiates itself is in its much wider operator support, with the likes of AT&T, Deutsche Telekom (the folks behind T-Mobile), Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa (the folks behind Three), Orange, Telefónica (the folks behind O2), and Vodafone all involved.

According to a GSMA spokesperson, the e-SIM technology should be finished by next year. “With the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalize the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated for 2016,” said a GSMA spokesperson.

It’s not just operators who are agreeing to the new standard, however, as the GSMA claims that Apple and Samsung are also eyeing the use of embedded SIM cards in their upcoming smartphones. Specifically regarding Apple, however, the GSMA said it is “continuing to work with Apple to secure their support for the initiative” and that the group remains optimistic about such a prospect.

Incorporating an embedded SIM card could prove fruitful for device manufacturers, since they would no longer have to make multiple models of the same phone. In addition, it would eliminate the need for a physical SIM slot, which means devices could slim down further. And the benefit for consumers would be huge, since they would no longer have to switch SIM cards whenever they hop on another carrier’s network.

Editors' Recommendations

Williams Pelegrin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Williams is an avid New York Yankees fan, speaks Spanish, resides in Colorado, and has an affinity for Frosted Flakes. Send…
Google Pixel Watch 3: news, rumored price, release date, and more
Someone wearing the Google Pixel Watch 2 with a yellow/green fabric band.

Though the first Google Pixel Watch suffered from some technical issues, the second generation Pixel was a big improvement. For the most part, it fixed the issues of the first model and was a much better smartwatch because of it.

This year, we should see the Google Pixel Watch 3. Though we’re still some months away from any official announcement, there are already a few things we can talk about. Here’s what we know so far!
Google Pixel Watch 3: release date

Read more
How to download iPadOS 18 on your iPad right now
iPadOS 18 update on iPad Pro.

The taste-testing season for Apple’s wave of next-gen software has already begun. Where iOS 18 went heavy on AI and generously lifted off from Android’s feature set, iPadOS 18 didn’t quite get the same kind of attention from Apple. Making the beastly M4-powered iPad Pro run more macOS-like workflows? Well, that didn’t happen. But the future still looks a tad brighter, thanks to Apple Intelligence.

Read more
This tiny Belkin charger is one of the best you can buy in 2024
A white Belkin charger laying on a colorful desk mat.

Can I admit something personal? I'm a sucker for a good charger. Small chargers, fast chargers, wireless chargers — you name it. Put a quality charger in front of me, and I'll be a happy camper.

Something I particularly enjoy is having specific chargers for different occasions. The Anker 747, for example, is one of my favorite travel chargers. It's a great at-home charger, too, but since I've been on the road a lot more this year and often have the 747 in my travel bag, it's been going back-and-forth a lot — from my desk to my backpack, back to my desk, and into my backpack again. I needed a new charger just for my home office.

Read more