Apple: Programmable SIM

Ars Technica:

The programmable SIM could eventually lead to mobile carriers’ worst nightmare—simply serving as dumb pipes for voice and data. (That doesn’t sound too bad for consumers.)

Doesn’t sound too bad for consumers? This is excellent news if true. Just as Apple up-ended the music business that gave the consumer no choice but to buy a dozen songs at a time, the iPod maker is doing its magic on the cellphone business.

I don’t want a two-dozen month agreement. I want month-to-month. And if that means I need to pay more upfront for my device, I’m okay with that.

Sources within these European carriers told Financial Times that Apple is risking a “war” that could result in carriers refusing to offer subsidies—often as high as $400 to $500—when customers buy a new iPhone.

Would I pay $600 for an iPhone 4 that allows me to choose whichever carrier I want on a global basis? Sounds good to me. When the new carrier-free iPhone comes out I’ll be glad to pay the $350 ETF to AT&T and get the new one for $600. In the long term I think the consumer wins with a programmable SIM from Apple. I’m sure there will be an app that helps me compare all the features, connection quality, and costs from different carriers based on my location. And all I have to do is select the one I want, one month at a time. Brilliant.