The image you see above is from a conceptual sketch by Ilya Birman on mobile phones that don't use SIM cards. Rather than shrink the SIM card even further like Apple is planning, Ilya wants to know: why not kill it entirely? Instead, allow the mobile user to choose carriers the same way one picks a WiFi network.
The phone presents me with a list of available carriers. I pick the one I like or select to learn more about it (coverage, service plans etc). If I choose a new one, the phone asks me to choose a plan and other details. Then it asks me if it's fine to share my payment information with the selected carrier. I confirm. Done.
Carriers will fight long and hard against a system like this -- phones locked to a single carrier are the money maker -- but with Apple's market clout, it may just be something that could happen.
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