The Sim card as we know it could soon change radically, with both Samsung and Apple having been in discussion with the GSMA for some time concerning a replacement.
According to a report from the Financial Times, that replacement would be a standardised embedded electronic Sim, or e-Sim – and an agreement is close to being reached by all accounts.
The idea would be that a user wouldn't be locked to any specific network with their Sim card as is currently the case – they would be free to switch, and no card switching would be required. The e-Sim would be embedded as part of the phone, and there would be no need for a Sim slot, or any fumbling about with tiny little bits of plastic.
It would certainly be a positive development for the consumer, and switching networks would become a far easier process.
Many network operators are in place behind the scheme, including Deutsche Telekom, Hutchinson Whampoa, Telefonica, Orange and Vodafone.
However, the new standard won't be implemented any time soon, with the exact technical spec still to be finalised – and Apple's firm support needs to be secured. Apple, of course, has its own Sim card which arrived with the new iPad late last year, and also facilitates easy switching between network operators.
According to the GSMA, the e-Sim will see the light of day at some point next year.
With any luck, convoluted and sometimes frustrating processes such as switching networks will become easy and pain-free in the future – there has already been a move implemented recently to make switching broadband provider easier.
As of last month, UK consumers who want to change their broadband ISP no longer need to get a MAC code from their existing provider – the new service provider will be able to handle the whole migration process.