The new SIM card in Apple’s new breed, including the likes of iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 is designed to be used by the customers of all wireless carriers in the US and the UK like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and UK’s EE. However, AT&T is not very impressed with the interchangeability pattern introduced by the American company and hence, they have locked SIMs in the cellular models of iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.
Once the user signs up for the AT&T plan with his iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3, he cannot interchange his SIM card with the other carriers.
While the user employs Apple SIM, he is flexible enough to select between various cellular carriers and their programs. The data plans are different for each carrier, for example, in the US, the user can pick up a domestic plan from either T-Mobile or Sprint and also take an alternative plan from the other carriers. However, when he picks up AT&T to be used on iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3, the carrier locks the SIM to be used for their carrier exclusively.
AT&T is the only carrier that actually locks the Apple SIM to be used for their network exclusively. John Legere from T-Mobile has conveyed that his company does not lock the SIM card of the users while being employed in iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3. Sprint also is very flexible for the users to interchange their SIM card with other carriers. The same is the case with Verizon as well.
The Apple support document will reveal what happens to the SIM when it is activated on US carriers:
Using Apple SIM, you can choose from different cellular carriers and their various programs. The data plans vary by carrier. For instance, in the United States, you can choose a domestic plan from either Sprint or T-Mobile and also pick an alternate plan from the other carrier as needed. When you choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only.
The Universal SIM plan was introduced by Apple recently with the launch of its new breed of iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 on 16 October 2014. This is apparently the first time that Apple has released a SIM that can be used for various carriers.
The spokesperson of AT&T confirmed to Re/Code that the customers of the mentioned carrier would need a separate SIM in order to operate their device on other carriers. He stated, “With us you can change carrier with this iPad any time you want. It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier.”
AT&T has not explained to the fans why it has decided to lock the SIM card to be used for its own network exclusively. But we will have to wait and see how users react to it.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 23, 2014