Originally Posted by Therbo
Do you even know what's stored on a SIM? I don't think a network wants their auth keys printed in clear text.
In EU, current law requires that phones have a SIM card. A vSIM is therefore illegal.
I'm quite familiar. Here, I'll break it down for you.
First of all, we can get rid of the address book and messages storage. It's a pointless feature for the future of smartphones.
(Warning: These next things are really tricky but they do require looking at how the technology works, not at the little piece of plastic)
Second, we have the IMSI. This essentially identifies the carrier and its country. This is up to 15 digits but could be shorter if using a full alpha-numeric. It's not unlike the way the Mac. However, inputting this into the phone could be reduced even more by putting most of the information onto the mobile baseband. This not only adds much needed security now afforded by the easily cloned SIM cards but reduces the amount of data the user would need to input with a vSIM.
Also, things like the OSEN, SMSC, SPN, SDN are all basic information that are coded to the carrier and country so this simple data can be part of the mobile baseband database, thus not needing to reside on a physical card.
Next we have the ICCID. This is the number you find engraved into your SIM card. It's not hidden. It can't be. It's up to 19 digits long. This would have to be inputted manually by the customer. That said, aspects of it like the country code and issuer are redundant to some parts of the IMSI as far as I can tell. Still, it's only 19 digits added once to the mobile baseband's storage and acts as the SIM's social security/tax ID number.
Finally we have the authentication key. This is unfortunately stored on physical SIMs and is passed over when SIMs are cloned. This is major issue that goes unnoticed. Again, this key could be stored on the mobile baseband so that is can authenticate with the network with added security. The vSIM would contain its own passcode that will be authenticated by the carrier against the ICCID and other data.
This system could even be smart enough to know that when you leave one country's network and enter another it would ask you if you wish to switch vSIMs. However, because this is a low-level, very secure system pushing this data to the OS layer would not be wise. The best move is to have the user restart the device in order to choose a new vSIM.
Since we're just now talking about the 4th generation of SIM card which probably wouldn't show up until 2013 what I propose is not a solution that I expect to happen overnight. I figure it's a good decade away but the move for more value and security in our communication devices means the physical SIM card will eventually go away. There will be opposition, but it will be from carriers because of control, not people who say they have to have a physical SIM card the way people say they have to have an ODD in case they need to reinstall an program.
Originally Posted by RichL
That might work in North America but European and Asian consumers are very much in favour of SIM cards. If you live near the border of several countries, go travelling a lot or live in a country with a competitive GSM market then physical SIM cards are a massive boon.
1) Incorporating vSIM doesn't mean the physical SIM would go away immediately. In fact, the only way this would work would be to have a couple generations of both system in place.
2) I'm in favour of the SIM. A vSIM is still a SIM. It offers all the same useful
features except it adds more security and convenience.
Originally Posted by Patranus
The way for Apple to do this is to just get ride of the sim regardless of what "the market" says.
When Apple does it, others will follow.
Remember when everyone said Apple was stupid for getting rid of the floppy drive and including USB.
Remember when everyone said Apple was being stupid for getting rid of optical drives.
Remember when everyone said Apple was being stupid for releasing the iPad.
Apple should "just do it". Who cares what their competitors say. They will sell a shit ton of iPhones and have a defacto standard others will follow.
No reason for Apple to halt their progress because their competitors are too stubborn.
But Apple wasn't putting their Macs on the floppy drive makers's networks. It's a very different situation.