T-Mobile Sprint Merger – No more Physical SIM cards

In an era where everything is going electrical without any aid for physical technology, SIM cards too join this technology.

Yes, with the help from the Department of Justice (DOJ), SIM cards are soon going to be eSIMs. Hence, as of 26th July, 2019, it is an official news launch that DOJ is getting rid of the plastic SIM cards.

The DOJ’s Approval of the eSIM –

The United States Justice Department has approved the $26 billion merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint. After over a year in regulatory limbo, the merger received the green light from the last federal agency to hold out; with the Federal Communications Commission already signaling that it will approve the deal.

What may seem like a wonky side detail or extra technical requirement in a blockbuster merger approval announcement; could end up changing not just how your phone gets online, but also (eventually) the way phones are built. It’s not going to happen overnight; the process will probably take years; but this small proviso in the merger approval could affect much more than who can sell wireless service in America.

The Justice Department finally approved the deal after Dish reached an agreement with the carriers to acquire Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid business, and “certain” spectrum assets. This will position Dish as the replacement fourth major US carrier that will be lost once T-Mobile and Sprint merge. The two companies will be required to provide at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations to Dish; and the satellite TV provider will also get unfettered access to T-Mobile’s network for seven years; as it works to build out a mobile network of its own; using the newly acquired assets and spectrum that Dish has held on to for years. Dish has publicly remained silent on its plans throughout this entire process, but that is likely to change starting today.

T-Mobile Sprint Merger – No more Physical SIM cards

T-Mobile and Sprint announced their intention to merge last April, claiming that their combined assets would make them a more viable competitor to AT&T and Verizon. The companies said they would be able to lower prices for consumers and more quickly deploy next-generation 5G networks across the country, which are arguments that have faced harsh criticism from consumer advocates and some experts.

Electronic SIM (eSIM) is the technology that allows wireless devices to get activated on a network through software. In theory, it makes it much easier for consumers to switch networks; because they don’t have to acquire a physical thing (the SIM card) from the network they want to switch to. They can just tap a few buttons in an app. In practice, it hasn’t quite been that easy since US carriers have dragged their feet in rolling out full support for eSIM.


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The big thing the Justice Department is requiring is that “The New T-Mobile” sell a bunch of assets to Dish so that it has the tools it needs to become the fourth wireless carrier. But in a press conference announcing the approval; the US government also said it’s requiring both The New T-Mobile and Dish to support eSIM technology; which allows your phone to register itself with the carrier using only its internal chips; not a little plastic shim you have to insert into your phone. Here’s how the DOJ put it:

“The remedy also facilitates consumers’ ability to easily switch between wireless providers by requiring the new T-Mobile and the new Dish service to support eSIM, electronic SIM, technology. This requirement will make it easier for Dish to attract new subscribers, help extend the competition in this market, and will provide a platform for new innovative options.

Sadly in the United States, eSIM has not been widely adopted in mobile wireless like it is in Europe and others. And that’s an area separate of this merger we have looked to. This will revolutionize the use eSIMs in hopefully all carriers, because once consumers have it, they’ll benefit from it.”

Basically, if eSIM becomes the standard on T-Mobile and Dish, the DOJ is hoping consumer pressure will bring it to all carriers; and also make it easier to use to easily switch between them.

Maybe not soon, but the change would definitely happen; so buckle up for the future of SIM cards.

 

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Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha, commonly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion.

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