(For other news from the Reuters Global Technology Summit,
* Apple proposes smaller SIM card to enable thinner devices
* Orange, other major operators back proposal
* Apple shares down 0.3 percent
(Adds ETSI comments, updates shares)
By Leila Abboud and Georgina Prodhan
PARIS, May 17 Apple (AAPL.O) has proposed a
standardised SIM card smaller than those it currently uses in
the iPhone and iPad to be able to produce thinner devices, an
Orange FTE.PA executive told Reuters on Tuesday.
The move by Apple to work with operators is symptomatic of
warming relations as Apple, no longer a new market entrant,
depends on mobile carrier subsidies to help it maintain high
volumes of iPhone sales.
A spokesman for European telecoms standards body (ETSI)
confirmed Apple had made the proposal for the new standard for
SIM cards, but decision on starting the standardisation work,
which can take more than a year, was not yet made.
"This process may take some time, up to a year or more, if
there is strong disagreement between industry players. However,
when there is broad consensus among the companies participating
in the standards committee, the process can be accelerated to a
number of months," he said.
Orange said it, and other operators, welcomed the move.
"We were quite happy to see last week that Apple has
submitted a new requirement to ETSI for a smaller SIM form
factor -- smaller than the one that goes in iPhone 4 and iPad,"
said Anne Bouverot, Orange's head of mobile services.
"They have done that through the standardisation route,
through ETSI, with the sponsorship of some major mobile
operators, Orange being one of them," she told the Paris leg of
the Reuters Global Technology Summit.
She said first devices using such SIM cards could come out
next year. If the smaller SIMs become standardised, other phone
makers are also likely to adopt them.
"At some point other vendors will follow as size and weight
will be crucial for smartphones," said analyst Francisco
Jeronimo of technology research firm IDC.
Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Apple was a divisive force in the mobile industry when it
launched its first iPhone in 2007, releasing the coveted device
only through selected partners and effectively forcing operators
to offer unlimited data plans.
Bouverot said: "As long as it supports the requirements that
we have for the SIM card, which is a very important asset for
operators, which we absolutely want to continue to support, then
we're happy that this is a development."
"It's certainly showing that they're willing to work with
the standardisation bodies and with the operators, which we
welcome," Bouverot added. "We're discussing how to improve our
Apple shares were down 0.3 percent at 1724 GMT. France
Telecom shares closed down 0.4 percent.
For more on the Reuters Global Technology Summit, see
(Reporting by Leila Abboud, Georgina Prodhan, Marie Mawad and
Tarmo Virki; Editing by James Regan and Jon Loades-Carter)
((firstname.lastname@example.org, +358-9-680 50 235, Reuters
Keywords: TECH SUMMIT/ORANGE APPLE