European carriers are reportedly warning Apple that if Apple goes ahead with plans for custom, built-in SIM cards for future generations of the iPhone. the carriers may refuse to subsidise the iPhone altogether.

The cost of the iPhone without a carrier subsidy is around $600 and estimations say that global sales may drop by around 12% if the phone isn't subsidised. Some of the carriers known to have concerns include:

  • Vodafone UK
  • France Telecom (Orange)
  • Spain Telefónica

Like Apple, all 3 of these carriers have refused to comment.

Robin Bienenstock, an analyst from Sanford C. Bernstein said that

Any decision by Apple to introduce an iPhone with a Sim embedded would undermine the operators’ relationship with their customer and such a move could ultimately prove to be the first step in a process in which the mobile operators cede customer control to handset vendors like Apple

What do you think about a possible built-in SIM? Would you still buy an iPhone without carrier subsidy?

Financial Times