What is Apple SIM and how does it work

Including in Russia. We understand together.

Apple SIM was presented in 2014 at the October presentation along with iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The service reached Russia only at the end of 2015.

What is this thing and how it works, very few people understand.

What is Apple SIM?

Then, at the presentation in 2014, Apple modestly kept silent about the Apple SIM. But this is, in fact, a small revolution. Cupertino, no less, decided to reinvent the SIM card . And at the same time throw off the shackles of “mobile slavery” from users.

The idea is simple: having an Apple SIM, the user can change the operator and tariff at any time , without changing the card itself.

The chip Apple SIM is that it is not disposable . That is, it is not tied to a specific operator. It is chosen by the owner from a limited list of options, unique to each of the compatible countries.

The idea is ideal for travelers. Going to another country, you just need to choose a local operator and a suitable tariff plan right in the tablet settings. And voila. The service works in more than 90 countries of the world , which is impressive.

How it works in real life

As you can imagine, everything is not so smooth.


There is nothing surprising in the fact that Apple did not introduce the Apple SIM at the presentation. There was no ordinary “amazing!” The reasons are interesting. Maybe a bold decision could spoil the business of operators? Suddenly sales of contract devices will suffer?

There is something true here. For example, of the four operators AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile and EE, only three work. AT & T was not enthusiastic about the idea of ​​Apple and does not allow to change the operator. Like, buy a new sim card.


The list of operators that is compatible with Apple SIM in each particular country is approved by Apple, and it is clearly the US office – hence the lack of understanding of the usefulness of this feature outside the US and outrage at its tariffs (which we now return).

It turns out that Apple SIM is now in beta testing in the company’s home region. It only works with the iPad, nothing is known about the appearance on the iPhone, and you cannot get it in free access. You must either buy an iPad in the official Apple store, or try to find through resellers.

And here we come to the most interesting: how the whole system works in Russia.

Apple SIM in Russia

At the end of 2015, Apple SIM appeared in Russia and in several other countries. However, if you hope that you can easily jump from MTS to Beeline or change the tariff, nothing will come of it.

In Russia and 11 other countries, the service has earned thanks to the agreement of Apple and the global mobile operator GigSky . Russian operators and Apple SIM are not compatible at all, there is no agreement between them on this topic.

What does this give us? You can buy a package of Internet traffic from GigSky.

Here’s a price list can be found on the official GigSky website :

  • $ 10 for 20 MB for 3 days;
  • $ 25 for 80 MB for 7 days;
  • $ 35 for 120 MB for 14 days;
  • $ 50 for 250 MB for 30 days.

$ 50 for 250 MB, Karl! And this, for a minute, 3800 rubles at the current rate. For comparison, the cheapest tariff in Beeline gives 4 GB for 400 rubles per month.

Understandably, we are talking about fares for travelers who are always noticeably higher than local ones. But not so much.

If you choose the United States on the official website of GigSky instead of Russia as the country of activation, for $ 50 you will receive 500 megabytes. That is two times more. And still, to put it mildly, not very profitable.


It turns out that it is at least 10 times more profitable for any traveler to buy a local SIM-card of our operators and use the Internet to the fullest, and not a measly 250 MB, which, with the appetite of an ipad, will last 15 minutes.

It would be great if Apple agrees at least with someone from the Big Three. Then prices should be adequate. But when this happens and whether it happens at all is unknown.

If you really want to try innovations, you can get an Apple SIM from us in only one way – buy an iPad in the official Apple online store.

What awaits us in the future

Hopefully, Apple will be able to convince operators around the world of the need for this technology. The idea is awesome, but for its full-fledged launch, it will be necessary to largely reconsider the interaction of users and operators.

And normal rates to do.

Apple should be the perfect broker so that both parties benefit.


But the game is worth the candle. I hope that soon we will be able to freely change the operators and tariffs simply through the device settings. And there, you see, and the SIM card tray will not be needed, because the card no longer needs to get.

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