According to an unverified report by technology website CNET, the Netherlands has become the first country in the world to legalise carrier-free SIM cards. Citing Decree No. ETM/TM/14024019, as published by the Minister of Economic Affairs on 3 March 2014, the article notes that Dutch citizens will no longer be tied to a specific carrier, effectively allowing them to switch between operators at will. The other big winners are likely to be equipment manufacturers, as they will no longer have to enter into contracts with specific carriers in order to make sure their devices have connectivity. Instead, they can provide an initial SIM card and let customers select their carrier.
Previously, in October 2010, Apple – in collaboration with SIM card manufacturer Gemalto – worked to create a SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone online, or at an Apple Store and activate it via the iTunes App Store. The initiative was designed to aid cross-border roaming, at a time when iPhone exclusivity agreements were starting to come to an end in Europe. However, the project was eventually derailed due to regulatory red-tape.