France Telecom's grand fromage, Stephane Richard, has confirmed that his company is working with Apple on a. The telecoms giant owns Orange, which we already knew was backing Apple's plans in Europe, but this adds weight to the likelihood of changes coming sooner rather than later.
Apple's plans for a smaller physical SIM card are the result of opposition among mobile operators to an earlier scheme for software-based, virtual SIM cards, known as e-SIMs.
Speaking to AllThingsD, Richard said: "All of us told [Apple that the e-SIM] was a bad idea because the SIM card is a critical piece of the security and authentication process. It would be very difficult for a telco or carrier to manage the customer relationship. I think that they understood this point."
It's clear why Apple would want to do away with the physical SIM card all together. As Richard said: "I understood that the next iPhone would be smaller and thinner and they are definitely seeking some space."
Despite Apple's well-documented arrogance and contempt for mobile networks -- Steve Jobs once called them "dumb pipes" -- Richard said France Telecom "can work properly with Apple people" even if it is sometimes "tough" to see eye to eye.
Richard isn't totally in love with Jobs and his fruity minions, though. Le chien superieur acknowledged the iPad's dominance -- "there is the iPad and there is the rest" -- but he's sceptical of the way Apple controls its mobile devices.
"If you have people like Apple managing their application store and saying 'This is OK' and 'I don't want to see this app in my shop' it's a problem," Richard said.