Apple is planning to sell its iPhone handsets with a SIM that can be configured for any carrier the buyer chooses, according to rumours circulating on the web, effectively cutting the carriers out of the purchase process.
The widely reported story claims that Apple has approached SIM card manufacturer Gemalto to pre-provision iPhones with a SIM capable of being configured to any carrier, either at the point of sale or when the user activates the handset via iTunes.
If true, the move would seem to imply that Apple is aiming to funnel more iPhone sales through its own stores, rather than having consumers go to a network operator to buy one.
Apple had not responded to requests from V3.co.uk for information at the time of writing.
On the face of it, the rumour does not make much sense. Apple cannot cut the network carriers out of the loop completely, since they ultimately provide the airtime and internet connectivity needed to make the phone work.
In other words, whether a buyer gets their iPhone from Apple or a carrier, they will end up paying a carrier for network access.
Some commentators have suggested that this is simply another way for Apple to extend its control over the user experience, and potentially put the squeeze on carriers by allowing only those that cut a deal with Apple to be included in the scheme.
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