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iPhone 15 might ditch physical SIM cards in some European markets

Published Mar 27th, 2023 11:49AM EDT
iPhone 14 design.
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple’s iPhone 15 might ship without a SIM card tray in more markets this year, not just the US. That’s according to a French blog report claiming the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro versions sold in the country will not support physical SIM cards. If the information is accurate, then other European Union countries might get the same treatment: iPhone 15 versions that can only be activated via eSIMs.

Reports preceding the iPhone 14 launch last year said that Apple wanted to drop the SIM card support in favor of eSIM. The rumor was accurate for the US market, where all iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models ship without physical SIM card support.

The US-bound iPhone 15 models should stick to the same script as Apple looks to drop physical SIM cards completely. That’s why expanding eSIM-only iPhones to other markets makes sense, especially in countries in western Europe.

French-language blog iGen learned that the iPhone 15 models sold in France will supposedly lack SIM card trays. MacRumors points out that Apple currently sells the same iPhone model in various European countries, not just France.

Therefore, if the France-bound iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro variants lose the SIM card tray, customers in several other EU countries will likely get the same treatment.

The benefits of ditching SIM cards might not be immediately clear. And customers might see the drawbacks first and foremost. Like moving from a SIM card to an eSIM when buying an iPhone 15. Or struggling to find eSIM support in other countries they might plan to visit to avoid roaming charges.

But eSIM-only iPhones will help Apple improve the handset’s water resistance. Removing the SIM tray means Apple has fewer openings to worry about when it comes to water ingress. eSIM support also means better security. If somebody steals your iPhone, they won’t be able to steal your SIM card as well. You can take steps with your carrier to recover it.

Moreover, iPhones can store up to 8 eSIMs, so you can travel to various countries and use a local, secondary eSIM card for calls and data… as long as you can find a carrier that supports eSIM tech. Also of note, eve, since the iPhone 13 series, you can activate two eSIMs simultaneously. Therefore, the iPhone 14 and 15 should be dual-SIM phones, even without support for a physical SIM card.

As for the carriers, Apple already lists the ones that support eSIMs at this link. The list should only grow as Apple continues to push for eSIM-only iPhones.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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