Back in October 2012, I wrote the article, SIM, microSIM, nanoSIM, noSIM. In that article, I said:
From the standard SIM card, to microSIM, to nanoSIM, we see a progression of miniaturization of the SIM card. Ultimately, the SIM card might have to disappear entirely. I call it noSIM. The question is, How will this work?
VIRTUAL SIMcard out to provide Phone for ALL
CyberSchuulNews.com carries a news item about how Movirtu, a London based company, has successfully implemented and tested the idea of Virtual SIM cards. How it works:
Put simply, Movirtu does away with the requirement for a physical SIM card. Instead, it allows operators to sell virtual SIMs, which exist only as numbers. To use one, a subscriber simply borrows a phone and enters a short USSD code which tells the network that the phone is now using another number. The subscriber can then make and receive calls from his own number (at his own expense) on the borrowed phone. All that has changed is an entry in the mobile network’s visitor location register, a backend database. To return the phone, the subscriber must enter the code again, and all is back to normal.
There you go: noSIM now exists. The virtual SIM card is here. Well.. not exactly. You see, this solution still requires a SIM card in the phone, and then you can use as many virtual SIMs as needed on it.
For now, Movirtu ManyMe merely enables operators to offer multiple numbers on standard SIMs. Users can get multiple numbers without changing handsets or swapping SIMs; operators can even offer numbers to subscribers of other networks. It is innovation still, and a step in the right direction.
Consider this new technology being taken to its logical conclusion and embedded into phones from the factory. We can then do away with the physical SIM totally. Anyone would be able to purchase a phone, enter the required code to dynamically assign their personal mobile number to the phone, and start using it. Voila! This virtual SIM concept by Movirtu could just well be the forerunner of noSIM.
According to CyberSchuulNews.com, Airtel, which operates in 17 countries in Africa, has bought into it, and so this new innovation may see first commercial deployment right here in Africa.