Apple has reportedly been wanting to use embedded SIMs in its iPhones and now it looks like the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) may be leaning that direction. The ETSI just gave Apple a victory this morning, by approving the company's nano-SIM design as the new standard, snubbing the design submitted by Nokia and Microsoft. The organization is now deliberating over rules for an embedded SIM standard for M2M (machine-to-machine) applications that could eventually find its way to consumer products and mobile devices.
The eUICC or Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card standard is aimed at the M2M industry, for communication devices that may not be easily accessible for changing out the UICC. For these applications, the ETSI must determine new standards and methods for securely and remotely accessing these eUICCs to manage or change their subscriptions from one MNO to another.
The ETSI is already looking at the possible use of such eUICCs in mobile devices, devoting sections of its requirements draft to consumer use and how subscriptions for such devices would be set-up and provisioned. The draft suggests the possibility of setting up subscriptions through a mobile network using a provisioning profile or other connectivity mechanism, such as LAN, WLAN, Bluetooth, or USB.
This means that users would be able to choose their carriers and setup their subscriptions after they purchase a device, taking away some control from carriers over device activations. Phone manufacturers such as Apple would no longer have to ship different SKUs with different SIM cards to the different carriers.