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The Netherlands paves the way for carrier-free SIM cards

If you live in the Netherlands, you'll no longer have to be tied to a specific carrier, as it becomes the first country to legalize carrier-free SIM cards.

Imagine it: a world where a SIM card is fully integrated with your device; no need to swap it out when you change carriers or travel overseas. In fact, SIM cards could be easily built into any number of devices, vastly expanding the Internet of Things. This would also end carrier-locked devices, allowing customers true freedom of choice: Any device could be used with any carrier the user chooses.

In most of the world, carrier-free SIM cards are illegal. However, the Netherlands has just become the first country to allow them. A change in the Telecommunications Act means that residents of the Netherlands no longer have to be tied to a specific carrier.

This could be great news for manufacturers, too -- they'd no longer have to enter contracts with specific carriers in order to make sure their devices have connectivity. Instead, they can include the SIM card and let the customers choose their carrier. Apple obviously agreed; in 2010, it attempted to create its own carrier-free SIM card -- a project that went nowhere, presumably because of legal restrictions.

While there may still be some technical kinks to be ironed out, getting carrier-free SIM cards legalized is a great first step. We're only hoping the rest of the world doesn't take too long to follow suit.

This story originally appeared as "The Netherlands legalises carrier-free SIM cards" on CNET Australia.