Speaking of a close environment… There is an interesting article on GigaOM today which suggests that Apple might be about to cut out the carriers.

Apparently Apple is working with SIM manufacturer Gemalto to create a unique SIM card that would be integrated inside the phone and that would allow people to buy the iPhone directly from Apple and choose a carrier via the App Store…

It is rumored that Apple and Gemalto have created a SIM card, which is typically a chip that carries subscriber identification information for the carriers, that will be integrated into the iPhone itself. Then customers will then be able to choose their carrier at 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 as opposed to visiting a carrier store or calling the carrier. Either way it reduces the role of the carrier in the iPhone purchase.

I wouldn’t be surprised by such a move, however I have one major concern with that. How would this work with subsidies? Would the buyer take the hit and pay full price for an iPhone? I doubt that. Or would the carrier pay Apple the subsidy once the phone has been activated? That would make more sense.

While this model is viable in Europe and most countries where the iPhone is available on various carrier, it wouldn’t work here in the US where the iPhone is the exclusivity of AT&T. Well, at least until this Verizon iPhone rumor comes true.

Do you see how this could work?

  • Patrick

    Well, I think it could work. Pretty nice thought.

    • chin

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  • Shahzad

    Means no unlocking?

    • j dubular

      would you need to unlock if you could choose any carrier you wish?

      • Shahzad

        I depend on an unlock. That’s y i asked. No iPhone in my country.

  • sk@tta

    Noooooo……..My carrier here in Jamaica doesnt have iPhone so ill be left out.

    • kirk

      Go Claro…

  • peter jansen

    It wouldn’t work in Europe either where there’s a lot more competition between carriers and a zillion subscripiton models. O doubt if the directorate of trade competition of the EU would agree on such a trade model.

  • Eric

    Sim cards are the buziness i think this would be an epic fail by apple. And probably not true. Just another iPhone Rumor. I love being able to take my sim card out with all my contacts on it and swap it into a new phone and everything be there still…I laugh at people that either dont know how to back up their contacts and have to write them all down and re-enter them into their new phone.

    • Rob

      Yeah! I Constantly Swap My Sim Between iPhone And iPad, I Ain’t Paying 20 Quid A Month For 3G When I Already Have A Perfectly Good SIM, Bad Idea Apple

      • Rilla

        Rob, do you mean that you can take a sim card out of the iPhone and put it in an iPad and use the iPhone’s data plan? Or am I making a wrong link here…

  • givemeabailout

    That is what Steve should do with his 51 billion. Start up a good cellular company and run these other flea bag companies out of business.

  • P

    I need 4.1 unlocking any1 help me….

  • Outlaw

    so how is the subsidy going to work ?

    and this is just typical of Apple… they use others get their profits then bend them over screw them and dump them….

  • Eldaria

    And how about when you go traveling?
    Sebastien, you have just been traveling a lot and swapped SIM several times.
    I also do this every-time I go somewhere abroad.

    The only way I can see this work, and even then it feels stupid, is if Apple becomes a global carrier, so there would be no more Roaming charges, but I don’t think even if Apple spent all their money, they would get close to be able to build up a global 3G/4G network.
    Maybe in US only, but this would limit their market a lot.

  • BabylonX

    I am moslty concerned about security issues. It’s a piece of cake to jailbreak an iPhone today. How easy would it be to export te IMSI and KI info (details that log you in into a carriers network) from such a phone? Newer sim cards (comp128v2 cards since about 2000) are unhackable. Is Apple’s technology going to be unhackable also? On the other hand, a carrier uses equipment that can handle the sim version they provide. For example here in Greece, 2 out of 3 carriers available still use the comp128v1 algorithm which is exploitable and thats why I have cloned copies of my sim cards that I made myself. They couldn’t care less about that security issue, do you think they would care if Apple demanded that they change their equipment just to be combatible with their devices?

  • Vik071

    If the rumour is true, I think that its only purpose is to stop software based unlocking (i.e. Ultrasn0w). I swap sim cards when travelling to US. How will I be able to do that if there is no sim? Apple will never let us to exploit onboard sim and use it with any provider!?!

  • Kenmal

    Guys mywi use ur phones 3G to run your iPad a one time fee of 20bucks works awesome if u have the unlimited
    Plan on attt. No need to swap sims

  • thefallen

    That would be an epic FAIL because, if it is SIM CARDS what we’re talking about here, they cannot be reactivated once you change them. For example… you lose the phone, go to whatever carrier, activate your number on a new SIM card, couple of days later you find your phone, what now?

  • Z

    Sounds interesting, gives users more freedom of action. I hope after choosing your carrier there will be an option to change one

  • Ramin

    You know what screw you apple I’m fed up with this, if this happens I’m never baying apple brand ever again.

  • Outlaw

    lol ! Relax ! I dont think this rumor will hold up, Apple is a hardware company and they want to sell their iPhones.

    • Z

      @Outlaw That’s exactly why they would do that. Screw the exclusiveness, enter open market. If customers buying an iPhone could choose their carrier from a list via iTunes during the activation process, apple would sell 10x the number of iPhones sold. You would see an iPhone almost everywhere.

  • OS X User

    Apple is not ready to deal with it yet……..

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