The GSM Association has announced the formation of a task force charged with investigating the best way to embed SIM cards that can be remotely activated in devices that don't traditionally carry them, such as MP3 players, sat-nav and e-readers.
The aim of the scheme is to enable mobile broadband connectivity in a wider variety of devices, as well as to allow for new mobile form factors.
The group will work with cooperation from major SIM providers. Among the group are technical experts from numerous operators worldwide, including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.
"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," Rob Conway said, chief executive and member of the board of the GSMA.
Conway also said that an embedded SIM will provide better security for consumers, as well as providing additional functionality for new services such as e-Wallet and near-field communications (NFC) applications.
The GSMA-headed group says that it expects to have completed an analysis of the technical requirements by January 2011. It hopes to have to new devices with integrated SIMs on the market in 2012.
"The resulting technical solution will be built on the principles of openness and standardisation... Traditional SIM-supported devices will continue to work on existing networks," said the GSMA in a statement.
On 27 October GigaOm reported that Apple was working with Gemalto to create a bespoke SIM card that could allow European iPhone customers to choose which network they would like to subscribe to. However, the SIM would still need to be remotely activated by Gemalto on a carrier's network.