T-Mobile got a lot of press last week when it announced a new, tiny embedded SIM card to be used in connected devices like "smart" electrical meters
. The new SIM is much smaller than the traditional stamp-sized cards, and the company says it can withstand exposure to the elements, making it ideal for machine-to-machine communications with outdoor devices, or in connected consumer electronic devices. However, The Register has a slightly different take on the new SIM, wondering if it's really driven by a desire to do away with removable SIM cards
-- meaning T-Mobile could sell devices that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to use on other operators. As the site notes, the electronics on SIM cards are actually minuscule, but they're packaged in a bigger plastic housing to make them easier for people to handle. Theoretically, T-Mobile could use the new, smaller SIM in devices instead of today's standard SIMs, and encourage manufacturers to build them in such a way so that the tiny SIM was essentially impossible to remove. This might not make a lot of sense for handsets, but for other connected electronic devices, it could prove very attractive to operators, particularly if they're subsidizing those devices. It should be noted that this is purely speculation at this point, but given mobile operators' undying love of trying to lock in their customers, it wouldn't be too surprising to see it happen.