The GSMA, the boys and girls who invented the standard that delivers mobile communications to practically every single human being on the planet, has formed a task force that is set to investigate what the future of mobile devices might be like if SIM cards were embedded with new products and they could then be remotely activated. This isn’t to say that they want to make today’s swappable SIM cards a thing of the past, they just want to enable new product categories to be created so that devices that traditionally haven’t been connected, like cameras and MP3 players, can finally get some good old internet access.
The group that’s doing the research has people from AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, KT, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. That’s pretty much every major operator in the world. They have to deliver their results by January 2011 and embedded SIM cards should find their way into products that hit store shelves in 2012.
“The traditional SIM has been an important innovation in mobile telephony, and has provided many benefits to consumers in terms of security, portability of contacts, and ease of portability of devices across networks,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. “As our industry moves from connecting phones to connecting a wide range of devices, it is apparent that the embedded SIM could deliver even greater flexibility. The embedded SIM will provide assured levels of security and portability for consumers, as well as provide additional functionality for enabling new services such as e-Wallet and NFC applications.”
As long as we don’t up living in a world where the devices we buy are locked beyond all belief to one particular operator or country, I’m happy. The best thing about today’s SIM card technology is that I can land in just about any European or Asian airport and buy a SIM card in less than 5 minutes and shove it into a cheap Nokia.