Work on eSIM Placed “on Hold” by GSMA ‘on hold’ Because of Investigation on US Collusion

Photo by Mike Mozart from Flickr

People should not anticipate seeing the embedded SIM technology on their phones any time soon. The GSMA, which function is to oversee the key cellular standards, has placed the work on the eSIM spec “on hold” while the US Department of Justice is investigating the possibility of collusion between the GSMA, Verizon, and AT&T to stifle the card-free technology. The GSMA did not disclose an explanation of the reason why the company was delaying the development. However, it instead emphasised that eSIM users in the United States would need to “explicitly consent” to an eSIM that is locked to a particular carrier.

All of the three parties have so far said that they are cooperating with the Justice Department, even though Verizon previously attempted to downplay it by saying that it was “much ado about nothing” and just a “difference of opinion” with the unnamed makers of phone equipment.

The said technology would take the place of the usual card with a chip that makes use of software to associate the users with a particular service provider. On top of freeing up some room inside the devices (which is crucial for wearables such as theGear S3 or Apple Watch), it makes it easier to change carriers as users could easily sign up for a new network without even discussing with another human being. And it is that last part that reportedly has the firms worried. Most networks flourish on fostering loyalty, whether it is by locking users in through payment plans or requiring that users stay in touch. If users would be able to use an eSIM to change carriers in a heartbeat, they might lose a lot of that customer loyalty and would have to fight more aggressively for their business.