Buying your Soft-Sim mobile. Who’s taking control? Who should get it?

September 14, 2011

in iphone, Mobility

This post talks “Sim-free” or “soft-SIM” solutions and implications. At one time it looked like iPhone 5 would launch with a soft-sim. Today that seems unlikely – although it certainly isn’t off the table. We do know the next generation GSM/CDMA iPhone5  solution will make changing between operators simpler – if unlocked!
I’ve been following an online discussion titled “Google to acquire Motorola Mobility”. It seems to have evolved from being just about patents. You can find the forum postings here which are public. I found this particular response below very interesting and for some it may be thought provoking. It’s also similar to some of the content that is talked there everyday. I’ll not mention the names of the two individuals on the blog to respect it was in a forum. The combination dialogue here is brilliant! I have added “BOLD” to the text below. It is what intrigues me. They lead to important questions.
  • What impact will the SIM-free mobile phone have?
  • When will we tire of Apple or Google being our gatekeepers? They already are…
  • When will we start innovating again against these emerging models? Where are the opportunities?
  • How do you insert a winner into this evolving world?
  • Will the devices ever really work more for us… than against us? What’s the future bargain we will strike?
Thanks for sharing interesting counter argument.
Imagine buying your SIM-free mobile phone from a local electronics store and logging into your Apple account…   Really? Do we really want this? Apple to be the gatekeepers to our mobile phone

In case you didn’t know everyone using an iphone has to have an Apple account (id) before the phone will work. SIM Free just removes the need to ever have to plug it into a computer running iTunes. A problem that I think has presented a challenge to Apple launching a cheaper phone that could take a much larger market share. (2012 anyone?)


do you really want a world where access to all aspects of your digitally-accessed life are via them?…   ….where exactly is this headed?
Never mind where it’s heading I think it’s already there. Take a look at someones AppStore downloads and browsing history and you could probably tell a dozen things about them that they didn’t even know about themself. Apple already know all about your app downloads, location and browsing habits. Your operator already stores a record of all your communications.
What happened to competition? A future where Google and Apple (or Nokia and Microsoft if you prefer) dominate totally is NOT a good future
I think you’re presuming that this is the end game and there will be no more innovation after this. I think we’ll just begin to accept that the OS owning device makers are the slow to change incumbents that we’ll love to complain about 😉
The carriers … sell bandwidth to two to three mobile platform providers…   …2 or 3 platform providers? We want this? We sure? Well…maybe we do. So Google is the new IBM for this generation, and everyone’s building IBM Android compatible PCs phones?
Every market is being shaken by the removal of middlemen. Tarriffs today are nonsensical eg. I have a free* unlimited data pay as you go SIM but using data on a contract SIM (to an operator I am loyal to) without a prior agreed commitment and monthly add on costs me an arm and a leg in over charges…
I think this is another thing that will change as soon as a popular SIMless device is in the market. When Apple starts shipping simless devices the carriers will begin to compete for simless devices and will actually want more brands to be making commitments to buy bandwidth from them (after all that’s easy no risk cash with no marketing $’s required – just like the MVNOs’ used to promise them). It’s also going to make their subsidised devices look a lot more attractive on the shelves…
Personally I fail to see why Nokia couldn’t innovate and do very well out of this move eg. by building something like a “dual sim simless phone” that can be simless but also take 2 physical sims in addition to the sealed devices from Apple or Google. Preload it with Skype and Facebook and it might be so good it pushes aside the iPhone and becomes operator enemy no 1. Will take some nerve to do that though…
Note Telco 2.o wrote about the death of the Sim in 2007 and their surveys at the time suggested that it might emerge by 2010-11. Turns out they weren’t very far out.
For me. I still want a better “communications” future. Yes we have made progress. We have better phones and we can do more with them. We also pay onerous rates, give up more data than we are aware of and have less control than we think. It also seems governments can also turn us all off at an time too. So there are plenty of innovative opportunities left.

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