Apple SIM opens new cellular connectivity potential to tablets – bringing both opportunity and challenges to MNOs

Last updated: 23 October 2014

Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 launch last week brought news of a new SIM design that gives consumers the option of choosing local cellular connections from participating mobile network operators. This is a big change for consumers with tablets, who’ll have the convenience of cellular connectivity without having to contact a local provider directly.

It’s also an additional opportunity for MNOs, who’ll have a new market of transient iPad Air 2 tablet contracts to capture, as their users may well opt for short-term cellular packages in different markets, when they travel for example. And the MNOs won’t even have to worry about the logistical challenge and cost of providing them with a SIM. A very small proportion of current tablets are currently cellular-enabled, so there is market opportunity here.

Once the principle of this approach takes root in tablets, the next obvious place is M2M and the Internet of Things, where occasional connectivity (e.g. from remote sensors doing occasional data transmission in remote locations) may provide another category of opportunity for MNOs.

Of course, this brings a new challenge for MNOs used to more traditional, 24 month contract commitments from their customers: that of subscription management. With hundreds of thousands of these “on-demand-connectivity” contracts – potentially millions or even billions once the M2M side takes off – the challenge of customer engagement and management becomes much more sophisticated.

We’ve been working on subscription management for several years and actively contribute to GSMA workstreams focused on creating a standardized and interoperable environment.. Whilst there’s still work to be done here in delivering the standards, we do have a full set of subscription management solutions designed to help MNOs, OEMs and device makers be ready for this next step in ceullular connectivity, connecting billions of machines and devices ‘on-demand.’

The idea behind our On-Demand Connectivity solution suite is to give instant connectivity and flexible control for managing a large number of connected devices including tablets, smartwatches, cars, sensors and other M2M technology.

For more on the future of ODC subscription management, check out this overview: