Some European carriers are warning Apple that they will refuse to subsidize the iPhone if Apple designs an embedded SIM card into the device, reports the Financial Times.
The operators are accusing Apple of trying to gain control of their relationship with their mobile customers with the new Sim. The technology could allow customers to buy the iPhone and sign up for service on Apple’s website and start using it immediately.
Closer to the operators’ hearts, it could allow customers to switch more easily from one to another or insist on shorter-term contracts. It could even set the stage for Apple to resell connection service on its own, although the company has not indicated such plans.
Robin Bienenstock, analyst at Bernstein, said such a move "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". It's thought Apple could see a reduction in sales of up to 12% if this happened.
It was reported late last month 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.
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- Posted using my iPhone 4