Will Google and Apple gain due to embedded SIMs?

Telecom Lead Asia: Will Google and Apple gain due to embedded SIMs? ABI Research suggests telecom operators will benefit from growth in embedded SIMs.

Whilst only 7 million embedded SIMs shipped in 2012 the advent of standards and subscription management are expected to result in 195 million devices including the technology by the end of 2017. Many assume that MNOs will be the biggest losers if embedded SIMs crossover into smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics devices.

Whilst the likes of Apple and Google would benefit from the introduction of embedded SIMs, it is the MNOs that potentially have the most to gain.

Apple and Google have already taken the lead in terms of brand recognition and loyalty amongst their customers and they sell and distribute their own devices directly to consumers. Both also have strong and well-populated app stores which provide them with the means to activate and personalize devices as well as service provision.

It is not all one way traffic against MNOs. The ability to switch networks would certainly open new M2M applications and broaden their appeal to hesitant customers. The larger potential is in the area of consumer electronics and handsets. Rather than losing control and increasing churn, embedded SIMs would allow MNOs to adopt flexible subscription management, improved device distribution and activation processes as well as removing the current burden of SIM card inventory.

ABI Research suggests that MNOs need to embrace such technological developments like embedded SIMs and to drive the market forward rather than looking to block and stifle competition with closed business practices. A more open and progressive stance would increase their appeal, open up new business models and use cases as well as drive innovation and build customer loyalty. It would also undoubtedly increase their competitiveness against any likely new entrants.

John Devlin, Security & ID Practice Director, ABI Research
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