T-Mobile teams up to offer cheaper roaming for e-readers

Price will play an important role in battle over machine-to-machine communications

T-Mobile USA and U.K. operator Everything Everywhere are working with Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient on embedded SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards designed to cut the cost of using e-readers while abroad, they said Wednesday.

The companies intend to offer the industry's first embedded multimode international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) SIM card, according to a statement. IMSI is a globally unique code that identifies subscriber, or in this case a machine, to the network. The card will offer the advantage of being able to act as a local SIM when used in the U.S. and the U.K., allowing roaming costs to be reduced.

Besides e-readers, the two operators are also looking at other types of machine-to-machine applications, in, for example, telematics, telehealth and asset management.

The new embedded SIM card is expected to be available before the end of the year.

Today, mobile operators are looking high and low for new ways to make money, and the machine-to-machine communications arena is seen by many to be promising. Growing competition between operators means cost will become even more important, T-Mobile said.

To simplify the use of machine-to-machine communications, the mobile industry is also working on standards that will allow operators to remotely program and activate embedded SIM cards. An initiative led by GSM Association and backed by AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telefónica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone is aiming to have something ready by next year.

Everything Everywhere is a joint-venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom. On Sunday, Deutsche Telekom announced that it plans to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T for US$39 billion in cash and stock.

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Tags telecommunicationGiesecke & Devrient3gCarriersctiaEverything EverywhereT-Mobile USA

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