European carriers threaten Apple over embedded SIM option

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Carriers in Europe are threatening to cut subsidies if Apple releases an iPhone with an embedded SIM card, a new report claims.



In October, reports emerged claiming that Apple has been working with Gemalto to develop an open SIM for integration into the iPhone. An embedded SIM card could allow customers to choose between competing carriers and activate service right from the Apple Store.



According to a Financial Times report, European wireless operators are riled up about that possibility. "The operators are accusing Apple of trying to gain control of their relationship with their mobile customers with the new SIM," wrote author Andrew Parker. With the embedded SIM, customers could insist on shorter-term contracts, using the ability to easily switch between carriers as leverage.



In response to the rumors, the carriers are "privately saying" that they could refuse to subsidize the iPhone if Apple goes through with an embedded SIM, Parker wrote. Among European operators, Vodafone in the UK, France Telecom and Telefónica in Spain are "known to have concerns" about Apple's interest. One European telecom senior executive said the new SIM could lead to a "war" between operators and Apple.



In just 3 years, Apple's iPhone has already shaken up the wireless industry, and a multi-carrier integrated SIM would cause further disruption for carriers. Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock told the Financial Times that an embedded SIM ?could ultimately prove to be the first step in a process in which [the mobile operators] cede customer control to handset vendors like Apple, [and are] relegated to commodity capacity providers.?



That step, however, could cost Apple. Bienenstock estimated that Apple?s global iPhone sales could take a 12 percent hit if European carriers made good on their threats to drop subsidies for the handset.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 119
    asuming of course that all mobile carriers in a country are on board. Else Apple might just offer the iPhone to other carrier who'd happily take it. And customers beeing customers and wanting an iphone they'd just change carriers.
  • Reply 2 of 119
    2oh12oh1 Posts: 501member
    Let them complain. There will always be a carrier wiling to pay the subsities to get the iPhone. When it comes time, they'll all remember the demand the iPhone 4 generated. And they'll want in. Let them complain.
  • Reply 3 of 119
    This makes no sense. I'm not sure how it works in Europe... but in the US, if you switch carriers, it costs a boat load in early termination fees.



    if the contract is up... then how is this integrated sim any different from swapping out the sim with a new carrier. It's more convenient and easier sure, but if someone wants to switch carriers, they will do it whether or not there's an App for it.
  • Reply 4 of 119
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,590member
    If the carriers don't subsidise the iPhone cost they won't have the leverage to lock you into a contract by stating that they need to re-coop the subsidy over xx months. If you have to pay £600 for the phone you might as well go for a 'sim only' type contract on a rolling monthly basis. The initial cost will be higher but your monthly will be lower.
  • Reply 5 of 119
    Yeah like they would risk giving up the greatest selling product in HUMAN HISTORY! They would have riots on their hands, nobody would be using the carriers. Everybody would be boycotting their asses till they go broke or give in. I hope they do cause it would be HILLARIOUS!!!
  • Reply 6 of 119
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post


    This makes no sense. I'm not sure how it works in Europe... but in the US, if you switch carriers, it costs a boat load in early termination fees.



    They're afraid that since consumers will be able to change their SIMs on a whim, consumers instead will want to have shorter or contract-less plans, using the fact that the integrated SIM can be changed easily.



    Basically, they're afraid that this could cause customers to rally against contracts locking them into service, God forbid you listen to or give power to the customers.
  • Reply 7 of 119
    honestly i'm with apple on this one. The age where your phone is utterly useless on another carrior is crap. to me it'd be like buying a laptop then not being allowed to use it if i change ISPs. A phone is just hardware, it should not be your contract or your carrior. I think the phone should just be a phone. and carrior be the provider only. not the provider and the phone. if carriors want to keep customers they should do it by having better coverage or options, not cause a 500 dollar phone you purchased can't be used with anyone else. I've had many phones, prior to iphone. and they are all useless 200-400 dollar smartphones. It's ridiculous.
  • Reply 8 of 119
    bcodebcode Posts: 139member
    But... Wouldn't it make it harder to change SIM's? I mean, with an integrated SIM, wouldn't I need to sync my phone or hookup to some software to make the change?



    Currently, I can just take the SIM card out and put another one in... how much easier does it get?



    Not to mention, wouldn't it be smarter to stop throwing away all those plastic cards that SIM cards come punched into and start using some sort of reusable option?



    F'n, money grubbing whiners didn't stop to think for 2 seconds.
  • Reply 9 of 119
    Steve J., if you're tuning in this is what we all want. I have a phone line and I can plug any phone I want on my line, any manufacture, make, model etc., why should Cell phones be any different? I should be able to use any phone I want and change it at anytime, or change my service without trashing my phone, sorry iPhone. Keep moving forward!
  • Reply 10 of 119
    This kind of ganging up against the consumer seems to me to be anticompetitive.



    Where are the EU competition commissioners when something blatant like this happens (assuming these guys did indeed make these kinds of implied threats)?
  • Reply 11 of 119
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bcode View Post


    But... Wouldn't it make it harder to change SIM's? I mean, with an integrated SIM, wouldn't I need to sync my phone or hookup to some software to make the change?



    Currently, I can just take the SIM card out and put another one in... how much easier does it get?



    Not to mention, wouldn't it be smarter to stop throwing away all those plastic cards that SIM cards come punched into and start using some sort of reusable option?



    F'n, money grubbing whiners didn't stop to think for 2 seconds.



    I don't get it either. Apple would be able to carrier lock your iPhone even with an integrated SIM. I also think this way it will be harder to unlock it using jailbreak since it could be a hardware lock.
  • Reply 12 of 119
    How's about Apple takes some of that pile of cash and buys a carrier, or creates a new one? How'd you like them apples?
  • Reply 13 of 119
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bevelmon View Post


    I should be able to use any phone I want and change it at anytime, or change my service without trashing my phone, sorry iPhone.



    And that is what you would be able to do. The beauty is that the SIM wouldn't be 'burned' and the new carrier just adds that id into their system. No having to deal with a carrier trying to make you pay for a new sim (ATT tried to get $20 off me to get a clean sim for my old iphone). Quick software update adds the appropriate carrier id to the phone so it talks to the right service. Done



    Given that the iphone now use micro-sims, pulling the sim out and putting it in another phone doesn't really work since few other phones also use micros at the moment. In the future it might be an annoyance but not so much at the moment
  • Reply 14 of 119
    Ahh... the beginning of the end for carrier dominance. I welcome it.



    Basically, carriers need to shut up, sit down, and provide a monthly plan for access that is unlimited in everything. that's it.
  • Reply 15 of 119
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iansilv View Post


    Basically, carriers need to shut up, sit down, and provide a monthly plan for access that is unlimited in everything. that's it.



    And, free too.
  • Reply 16 of 119
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    So where are all the usual European suspects who come in and post how they can change SIM cards whenever they want and pay 2€ for billions of GB of data for tethering to their laptops at phenomenal speeds everywhere they go and unlimited calls because Europe is oh, so much better than America and networks there allow freedom to do what you want backed up by the EU.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iansilv View Post


    Ahh... the beginning of the end for carrier dominance. I welcome it.



    Basically, carriers need to shut up, sit down, and provide a monthly plan for access that is unlimited in everything. that's it.





    Don't worry, Google will step in with Android to pick up the slack and put things back the way they were, for the carriers.
  • Reply 17 of 119
    This is a funny link...



    http://it-chuiko.com/mobile/7394-mob...sim-karty.html...



    "participate in the project, companies such as AT & T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and others "
  • Reply 18 of 119
    If there is anyone from Apple reading this thread, don't worry about their threats. The thing is they can't survive without the iphone and you would be empowering your customers. You have said that you care and this is one way of showing you do. The cell companies have basically gone nuts with their pricing, especially data plans. Using AT&T's bandwidth calculator just basic online usage hits 5GB a month, without its online capabilities the iphone is useless. I'd love to see a wimax hot spot edition as sprint has unlimited bandwidth no caps and upto 6Mbps connection and includes 5GB of 3G for ultimate mobile connectivity but i know that will not happen. I don't expect LTE data plans to be pocket friendly. Calling while traveling internationally will also become more affordable and that's really when you need a device like an iphone. Lots of travel apps depend on a connection.



    From a business point of view making one global CDMA/GSM iphone with a universal sim is one way to make one iphone for the globe which would be a major savings for you. It would simplify registration and sales and also give your customers worldwide a choice of their carrier with competitive plans. Preorders and self activation could really streamline and speed up launch day sales. It would also allow you to sell the iphone unlocked and give the carriers the opportunity to subsidize if they so choose like they do in Canada (unlocked and subsidized now that is true genius) . Regardless of the price people will pay for the iphone, just go to ebay. Even first gen phones are selling for ridiculous amounts. People may grumble but they will still be lining up in mass on launch day.



    So show us customers (who pay for the mighty war chest) some love.
  • Reply 19 of 119
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    1-200MB covers basic online usage, fairly heavy usage 1-2GB, realistically the only way to get anywhere near 5GB is by tethering or watching YouTube 24/7.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iLad View Post


    Using AT&T's bandwidth calculator just basic online usage hits 5GB a month, without its online capabilities the iphone is useless.



  • Reply 20 of 119
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    So where are all the usual European suspects who come in and post how they can change SIM cards whenever they want and pay 2? for billions of GB of data for tethering to their laptops at phenomenal speeds everywhere they go and unlimited calls because Europe is oh, so much better than America and networks there allow freedom to do what you want backed up by the EU.



    Don't worry, Google will step in with Android to pick up the slack and put things back the way they were, for the carriers.



    had to chuckle - at both points.
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