Feeds

GSMA opens the way for Apple SIM

Operators roll over for Jobsian tummy-tickle

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The GSMA is to create a new standard for manufacturers who don't want their products sullied by an operator's SIM, taking Apple a step closer to world domination.

Not that Apple is a member of the new Task Force which will be defining the standard for software SIMs, but the hand of Steve Jobs is clearly visible among the promises for greater flexibility and additional functionality that doing away with the removable SIM is supposed to provide.

The new Task Force will address the considerable technical difficulties involved in putting a SIM into software, and expects the first sans-SIM devices to appear in 2012. So come the next iPhone but one, the user will be able to select their network operator through iTunes, reducing the network operator to a logo on a list.

The SIM is central to GSM, and its success: a hardware token that the user can move between devices without the manufacturer's acquiescence, and remains under complete control of the network operator.

The SIM contains the user's private key which is also stored on the network's Authentication Centre, and never transmitted anywhere. The Task Force will have to create protocols by which a network operator can encrypt that private key for remote installation, a hugely complex process that would seem to add nothing to the simplicity of slotting in a new SIM.

However, the process does enable the handset manufacturer to control the distribution process, and makes the manufacturer the final arbiter of what networks are supported and what SIM functionality is permitted.

The GSMA represents operators, and so makes much of how the new standard will bring additional security and help connect cameras, MP3 players and e-Readers to the mobile networks. But it's not the removable SIM that prevents such integration; it's the cost and consumption of the radio connection.

The ability to download and install a software SIM, over some alternative network connection presumably, is arguably more complicated to implement than a physical slot. That is unless you are Apple, in which case iTunes already provides that connection and the interface through which to manage it.

When the rumours of Apple's software SIM started to surface it seemed hugely unlikely. A device without a removable SIM breaks the GSM standard so wouldn't be allowed in Europe, unless Apple somehow managed to change the rules... which is exactly what Apple has managed to do. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA
Just 100 Beijing fanbois queue to pick up new mobe
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.