What Apple’s New iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Mean for International Roaming and Travel SIM Cards

With the unveiling of Apple’s iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 today, I’ve been getting a few emails from customers of travel SIM cards about what the devices — in particular their built-in Apple SIM — means for global wireless providers.

The new technology, now built into the new devices, lets you pick whatever carrier you want to from a list inside the iOS software. This could potentially solve a number of problems customers have with installing or swapping SIM cards when going overseas.

However, let’s be clear. Currently, the technology is limited to some carriers in the US and in the UK, such as EE, AT&T and T-Mobile US and so it does not yet apply (and there’s no indication from Apple that it will in some time) to travel SIM cards. Right now, with the service only recently launching and the limited footprint it has right now, it’s too early to tell what Apple’s future plans are. It’s not even available on iPhone yet, but I’d be surprised if it’s not there shortly.

the Apple SIM technology is limited to some carriers in the US and in the UK

Even if the travel SIM cards are ever mentioned as possible candidates for the service, or even with the national SIM cards that are forthcoming, Apple notes that its list of carriers could change at anytime, so it sounds like it could be a fluid rollout for awhile.

Apple explains the new feature like this on its website:

The new Apple SIM is preinstalled on iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad. So whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you — with no long-term commitments. And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip.

The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 were announced alongside the iMac with Retina display and an updated version of the Mac Mini. The iPad Air 2 goes on sale beginning tomorrow. As far as international carriers though, I’ll keep my ears peeled for any new information. For now, you can keep on roaming as you always have, and I hope this clears up a few things.

  • jake

    Eh, i’m android user anyway