No Simless review would be complete without a full understanding of the context for the problem its technology solves. So...
“Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress.”
Regardless of your views on Hoover, you have to admit, he had a few good one-liners. Unfortunately, we haven’t made much progress towards consumer protection since Hoover said this, 85 years ago. If anything, we’ve gone backwards. Telecom giants control over 97% of the market and have consumers (you) locked into contracts with early termination fees that 50% of Americans couldn’t pay off without borrowing money.
“Property rights, innovation and economic dynamism are the essential components of future success of the Great American Experiment.”
-Samuel King & Ismaila Wane
While not Presidents, U.S. military combat veteran Samuel King and West African immigrant Ismaila “Izzo” Wane give us these equally powerful words. In a recent letter to the FCC, Simless Inc. co-founders Sam and Izzo challenge the government agency’s stance on competition and progress (or in this case, “economic dynamism”).
"We propose the FCC adopt rules that make the module performing the SIM function inside a connected device the property of the device owner (whether a consumer or enterprise), and therefore remain reprogrammable, for the life of the device."
Simless simplifies the way people and objects get access to cellular connectivity. Their technology simulates SIM cards in devices, but with one key difference. Their “SIM card” is not locked to any one network. With Simless, you could change cell networks as easily as you change Wi-Fi connections. Use the best signal available, all the time. Sounds pretty great, so why isn’t this technology in every device?
Large service providers (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T) require that manufacturers build lockable SIM cards into devices. This lets them lock consumers onto their network, so they can’t leave for higher-performing competitors. Manufacturers have to oblige, or their product doesn’t get distributed.
Why this matters? Progress is being hindered by a lack of competition among telecom providers.
Simless has built technology to change that, but this does not solve the problem of market-leading telecom carriers colluding to keep it sidelined and, thus, competition stifled.
So my review of Simless is: awesome, if you live in a jurisdiction that makes that kind of collusion illegal, Simless is the quickest way to enable healthy competition among telecom carriers--heck, maybe even to the extent that bad customer service starts to bite carriers in the chair-piece.