Apple has abandoned plans for embedded SIMs after European carriers threatened to stop subsidizing iPhones.
The device maker acted to safeguard supply of its flagship smartphone after carriers including O2 and Vodafone warned they would stop giving the iPhone away to customers who sign up to two year contracts, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
One telecoms executive told the Telegraph that Apple had been “sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs,” after years of trying to cut operators out of the loop.
However, the manufacturer could still embed SIMs into its iPad, the newspaper said citing the same source.
Apple was reportedly developing an embedded SIM for the iPhone with smartcard firm Gemalto, which would allow customers to choose their own network when activating the device.
The set-up would effectively allow consumers to become roamers selecting networks from a list in iTunes for a day, a week, a month or a year, GigaOm suggests.
An announcement by the GSMA on embedded SIM’s on Thursday appears to have fanned the flames of Apple’s rumored collaboration, even though the Association states clearly that its work was focused on M2M rather than cell phones.
While operators acted quickly to preserve their relationship with end-users, recent research from iPass shows they have already lost their grip on business users, who now choose devices based on features and functionality rather than network provider.