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The Netherlands Becomes the First Country to Legalize Carrier-Free SIM Cards

Brent Lewin—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Could herald more user freedom (and more manufacturer influence)

In great news for those sick of fiddling with their cellphone handsets on every trip abroad, the Netherlands has become the first country to legalize carrier-free SIM cards.

Instead of adding to your pile of miniscule circuit cards, or locking your device to one network, this could herald the true freedom for users to switch between operators at will.

Manufacturers are already vying for it, since it would mean customers wouldn’t have to enter agreements with specific providers to connect their devices, and in the long-run could cut out the middle man for voice and data services. It may still be a while until we get there, though. Legal restrictions already quashed an initiative by Apple to create its own carrier-free SIM card in 2010.


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