eSIM, The Universal SIM Card, Faces Another Hurdle
The rollout of the universal SIM cards, called eSIM, could be delayed. The delay is caused by an investigation into whether wireless carriers colluded to make it more difficult for customers to switch service providers.
Issues On Standards
The latest version of eSIM standards is “on hold pending the competiiton” of a US Department of Justice probe. This is according to GSMA, a group that works to set eSIM standards for the wireless industry. GSMA added that it is cooperating fully in the investigation.
The purpose of the standard is to serve as an agreement between service providers and smart device manufacturers on eSIM card use.
eSIM Card Design And Technology
its design is supposed to be customer friendly. They allow its users to switch their wireless carrier without having to install a new card on their device.
The technology for universal SIM cards already exists. That is why the GSMA standards are important.
Probe On The Proposed New Standard
Reports from the New York Times said that the DOJ is looking into whether AT&T and Verizon coordinated with GSMA. This is in connection with the proposed new standards that would give the companies the ability to lock lock customer into a wireless carrier. This is even if their devices have eSIM cards. That could violate US antitrust law.
Sources also confirmed that the DOJ sent letters to Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and GSMA earlier this year. But that does not mean that all four providers are targets of the probe.
In a statement from Verizon, it said that the problem lies with difference in opinions with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers. This is in relation to the development of eSIM standards. The statement said that they have been proactively and constructively working with the Department of Justice for several months regarding this inquiry. And that they continue to do so.
AT&T also confirmed that they are cooperating and that it has provided information to the investigation. Sprint and T-Mobile did not respond to inquiries.
Convenience Of the eSIM Cards
If the customer wants to switch service providers, they have to physically change their existing SIM card. eSIM card technology aims to eliminate that process. This is through built-in cards that can easily swap wireless providers remotely with a software update. No need for the inconvenience and hassle of physically changing SIM cards. This will make switching service providers easier.