MetroPCS embraces SIM cards for LTE
Gemalto wins deal with operator, following similar win at VZW
It’s not too often a CDMA operator finds itself shopping around for a SIM card supplier. But that’s exactly what MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) has been doing of late, announcing today that Gemalto will supply the subscriber identity modules commonly found in GSM devices for its forthcoming long-term evolution (LTE).
LTE is a 3GPP technology, firmly grounded in the GSM standards camp, meaning it will initially be SIM card-based. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD), too, has selected Gemalto, the leading dealer in subscriber management system and both will use Gemalto’s universal integrated circuit card (UICC), essentially an IP version of the SIM designed to authenticate users to the 4G network.
That doesn’t necessarily mean customers will be able to swap out SIM cards between devices on VZW and Metro networks, though.
Both operators plan to offer dual-mode devices, and the UICC only handles authentication to the LTE network, not to the CDMA network, which authenticates directly to the device. That presumably means, Verizon and Metro devices will be linked authenticated on both networks simultaneously, tracking the same subscriber over two management systems.
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