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AT&T Locks Down the Apple SIM Cards in the New iPads


News Team
Jun 22, 2012
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There is one little known feature about the new iPads that has excited many so far - the option to change to different carriers through a few taps. However, as it turns out and probably as some of you were expecting - it's just too good to be true. At least that's valid if you're an AT&T or T-Mobile customer.

AT&T and T-Mobile both lock down new iPad SIM cards in their stores but T-Mobile iPads purchased at an Apple store will remain open. So, if a customer wants to switch, he needs to physically change out the SIM card, just as in older iPad models, which means that carriers have pretty much reject the small innovation proposed by Apple because, obviously, it would hurt their business.

Here are some more details about this:

An iPad purchased at an Apple store or other third-party retailer such as Best Buy for use on T-Mobile's network, however, will remain open, and users can switch to another carrier on the fly, the person said. Sprint appears to have a similar policy. An AT&T iPad purchased at an Apple store will not remain open.

The back-and-forth on Apple SIM underscores the differing priorities between Apple and the carriers. Apple wants to make the process of purchasing and choosing an iPad and carrier partner as easy as possible, while the carriers want to maintain some control over the customer.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are listed as part of the Apple SIM program, which is a single SIM that can handle all three carriers. At least at the Apple store, a salesperson and customer can easily choose between the three carriers. Verizon Wireless is not a participant in the program and uses its own SIM cards.

And here's how Apple's explanation of this new features sounds like:

"Using Apple SIM, you can choose from different cellular carriers and their various programs. The data plans vary by carrier. For instance, in the United States, you can choose a domestic plan from either Sprint or T-Mobile and also pick an alternate plan from the other carrier as needed. When you choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only."

What we can hope is that carriers will have a different approach in the future and will put customers on the first place.

Source: Cnet


Staff member
Dec 3, 2011
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Maybe Apple could make it impossible for AT&T or anyone else to lock down the Apple SIM card?


iPF Novice
Oct 12, 2011
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Upstate, NY
I don't see the big deal. If you change carriers you just get a new SIM card. Not the end of the world.

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