Apple's master SIM card plan: Brilliant abroad, U.S. may not fly

Apple is reportedly working with SIM-card maker Gemalto to cook up a special SIM card that would allow consumers to buy and iPhone and pick any carrier they want.

Apple is reportedly working with SIM-card maker Gemalto to cook up a special SIM card that would allow consumers to buy an iPhone and pick any carrier they want.

Giga Om's Stacey Higginbotham has the story. In a nutshell, Apple would cut out carriers in Europe. You'd buy an iPhone and activate it through the App Store or a carrier store of your choosing.

The catch here is that Apple would put its own SIM card in the iPhone. Could Apple really sell a phone without a carrier? Sure it could. Carriers would have to allow Apple's SIM card access to their networks. GigaOm has a lot more technical details about how this arrangement would work.

Globally, this Apple move would make a lot of sense. Most networks operate on the GSM standard so the iPhone could hop to all sorts of carriers.

In the U.S. though, Apple's stroke of brilliance won't fly. Why? There are only two networks with GSM---AT&T and T-Mobile. There's no way Verizon Wireless would let Apple do its own SIM card on its CDMA network. Apple may reinvent the mobile distribution channel abroad, but it will have to import that approach to the U.S. at some later stage.

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