Latest in Gear

Image credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

GSMA puts eSIM work 'on hold' due to US collusion investigation

You might not see card-free phones for a while.
519 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Don't expect to see embedded SIM technology in your phone any time soon. The GSMA, which oversees key cellular standards, has placed eSIM spec work "on hold" while the US Department of Justice investigates the possibility of collusion between AT&T, Verizon and the GSMA to stifle the card-free technology. The GSMA didn't offer an explanation of why it was pausing development, and instead stressed that American eSIM users would need to "explicitly consent" to a carrier-locked eSIM (such buying a phone on contract).

All three parties have so far said they're cooperating with the Justice Department, although Verizon previously tried to downplay it by saying it was "much ado about nothing" and just a "difference of opinion" with unnamed phone equipment makers.

The technology replaces the usual card with a chip that uses software to associate you with a given service provider. On top of freeing up room inside devices (crucial for wearables like the Apple Watch or Gear S3), it makes it much easier to switch carriers -- you could sign up for a new network without even talking to another human being. And it's that last part that reportedly has the companies scared. Many networks thrive on cultivating loyalty, whether it's by locking you in through payment plans or just requiring that you stay in touch. If you could use an eSIM to leave in a heartbeat, carriers might lose a lot of that loyalty and would have to compete more aggressively for your business.

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
519 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best mobile devices for students

The best mobile devices for students

View
Sega is becoming its weird and wonderful self again

Sega is becoming its weird and wonderful self again

View
Riot Games settles class action lawsuit over sexist culture

Riot Games settles class action lawsuit over sexist culture

View
The best external graphics card enclosure

The best external graphics card enclosure

View
Americans are waiting three years to replace their phones, study finds

Americans are waiting three years to replace their phones, study finds

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr