U.S. Justice Department’s attitude to operator eSIM policy hinders competition

As the interior space of the smartphone becomes increasingly strained, many vendors are already considering replacing traditional physical SIM cards with eSim. As a feature of GSM Association Push, eSIM has a lot of bits. It also raises questions about operators’ reluctance to give up bundling consumers easily, creating an invisible shackle that makes it difficult for consumers to switch to another carrier. Some rules, based on the GSMA, allow operators to lock devices and prevent users from switching networks.

U.S. Justice Department's attitude to operator eSIM policy hinders competition

(Image via Theverge / Tom Warren)

For devices with physical SIM slots, users can easily change cards if necessary to switch to another carrier network with better signals or services. But in order to prevent eSIM from creating a new monopoly, the U.S. Department of Justice has established some rules.

North American operators are eager to get stricter lock rules that prevent automatic network switching and simultaneous connections to both networks, creating some barriers to innovative services, the agency said. If your phone has two physical SIM slots, this is not a problem.

However, on devices that use eSIM schemes, when a user wants to switch to another carrier, they also need the consent of the current carrier. Unfortunately, the Justice Department could have asked the GSMA to keep eSIM open to any network, but it did not.

Instead, the Justice Department took no action, saying only that it would closely monitor the GSMA’s follow-up performance to see if the situation improved. The reason is that the GSMA claims that the issue should be resolved as a result of the new rules.

It is understood that the eSIM standard will continue to be updated and a new version is being developed, but it is not clear whether these issues will eventually be changed. It is not clear what action the Justice Department will take in the future.

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