THE PROGRESSIVE Dutch have become the first country in the world to legalise universal SIM cards.
Although there is a common standard, all SIM cards have previously been linked to a carrier. However, under legislation passed yesterday, devices in the Netherlands can be built with SIMs embedded, so customers will able to choose their carriers.
Alternatively, phone makers can contract service provision for the life of the device without being tied in to a carrier proposition themselves, putting the service out to tender.
At the moment, the news is of limited value, but this initial legalisation of universal SIM cards in the Netherlands could spur other countries to look into the approach, possibly leading to phone makers being in a position to use the freedom this could give them.
The major winners might be designers of Internet of Things (IoT) products that require permanent connections to the internet. SIM cards could become updatable with new functionality or transferred a new carrier without any intervention by the user.
Apple previously proposed the idea of a universal SIM card for its iPhone range in 2010, in association with Gemalto, but the proposition was quietly dropped.,
The change to the Netherlands' Communications Act that was passed yesterday was entitled, "Decree of the Minister of Economic Affairs of March 3, 2014, No. ETM/TM/14024019, amending the Numbering Plan for identity numbers for international mobility (IMSI numbers) associated with the use of IMSI numbers by private networks". Try saying that after a few Amstels.
We've asked Ofcom about its position on this matter with regard to the UK market.
The INQUIRER is running a debate this week on the rise of the Internet of Things that is powering wearable technology development. We'd like to hear your views on whether the Internet of Things will kill privacy, or whether user data collected by smart devices will be adequately protected. You can vote for or against these propositions here. µ