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megaSIM: A New Way to Keep Wireless Subscribers

This morning, SanDisk CEO Eli Harari told me of a really interesting new memory product his company is betting on that could help wireless carriers lock in subscribers. Called megaSIM, this type of memory will become available from carriers in Europe in the second half of 2008.

megaSIM is basically a regular SIM card, which is responsible for authenticating a user to a wireless network, and a memory card all in one. When you download songs or games via sideloading or the wireless network, they are stored on the card. On one hand, that set-up makes it easier for subscribers to switch phones: You simply pull your megaSIM card out of your old phone, stick it into the new one ?and, voila, all your games and songs are now on the device.

I suspect that problems may arise if subscribers want to switch carriers. When switching carriers, users have to use a new carrier’s SIM card. But every phone only has one SIM slot. So listening to music stored on my old SIM will become extremely inconvenient. I would basically have to disable my new phone to do that, or to use my old device to access that content. Chances are, whenever leaving their carriers, users will have to leave much of their content behind. That’ll lead to less customer turnover, for sure. But I also think that could lead to many annoyed customers.

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