New Apple iPads to shake up the networks
It seems like only yesterday we fought for the freedom to choose providers - now that's all about to change with the software SIM
On the face of it, this seems like an improvement: simply turn on your iPad and choose the network deal you want, from a friendly list of providers. But think about it for a second and you realise this list is being compiled for you. So how does a network get onto that list? Is it competitive? And who are we paying, iTunes?
A series of EU court rulings throughout the 80's and 90's thrashed-out the freedom to move our SIMs from one device to another, from provider to provider. OK, some devices were locked to specific networks/contracts, but on the whole it represented a win for the consumer. We weren't beholden to BT or any other single network provider. All this now changes with the AppleSIM.
Now, for the first time, device manufacturers dictate which networks we're allowed to use. I say "Manufacturers" because Google is sure to try and follow this model. And which networks will be offered to us on these new devices? Could it be those that don't compete with Google's growing fibre network? Those that give iTunes the biggest cut of our hard-earned wages?
Having our freedom of choice monopolized by these two incumbents is a really bad idea for oversight, competition, innovation, infrastructure development, pricing .. in fact, beyond the mindlessness of 1-click convenience, it's tough to think of a single way this development can benefit consumers in the long term.