As tech companies continue to race towards gimmicky and ultimately impractical 4K smartphones with 16-core processors and 8GB RAM or $100K smartwatches made from solid Kryptonite, it’s easy to lose sight of the little annoying things that should have probably been improved decades ago.
Case in point, physical SIM cards you need to replace when switching wireless carriers. How is that still a thing? Well, GSMA’s industry-backed Consumer Remote SIM provisioning initiative will finally make it obsolete before long, allowing the user to retain an embedded card or eSIM for the duration of a gadget’s life, and simply download a mobile network operator’s profile when necessary.
The technology shall debut inside the Samsung Gear S2 Classic 3G in March, followed by other wearable devices soon and smartphones in June 2016. The GSM Association has already managed to earn the trust and support of dozens of carriers around the world, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, EE, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Rogers, Sprint, Telefonica, Telstra, TIM, Verizon, and Vodafone.
Aside from Samsung, Huawei, LG and Microsoft are also committed to release products fitted with non-replaceable SIMs out the box, while Apple goes its own way as always, actually laying the first stone in this field with pre-loaded universal operator compatibility on select iPads.
For its part, Samsung merely promises the GSMA-compliant eSIM Gear S2 Classic 3G will work on M1 Limited, Orange, Singtel, StarHub, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, and Vodafone (so, no US networks just yet), with recommended pricing very much up in the air too. Given the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-only S2 Classic costs $350 stateside, we’re guessing a $400+ tag is in the cards.