Apple to offer own brand SIMs – What Next? An Apple network

According to a report on technology news site GigaOM, Apple are planning on setting up their own SIM card deal.

Not content with selling phones to every operator, it seems like Apple – if the rumours are true – are to launch their own SIM card deal. The move would let customers buy and activate iPhones directly from Apple’s stores. They could also connect online via Apple’s iTunes App Store.

The website reports Apple and SIM card company Gemalto have created an Apple-branded SIM card. According to GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham, “customers will then be able to choose their carrier at time of 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.”

The Gemalto SIM, according to Higginbotham’s sources, is embedded in a chip that has an upgradeable flash component and a ROM area.

“The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information.

“The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network,” adds Higginbotham.

Quite what this would achieve, aside from saving users a few days twiddling their thumbs, or a few hours spent visiting their local shop remains to be seen. It’s not exactly earth shattering news, but it could be the start of something bigger. First Apple started to sell the iPhone as a standalone device, next they started to offer credit, now they offer a SIM card, what’s next? An Apple carrier network?  It’s not a completely mad idea. After all Gemalto already provide SIM cards for Virgin Media, Europe’s largest Mobile Virtual Network Operator, with around 3 million+ subscribers so why not Apple?

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