Are mobile networks commodities?

Apple has been contemplating a SIM card that would make carrier switching a lot easier. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

“Apple is relenting,” said Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar. “They are now completely backing away from their plan to take the carrier out of the equation,” said Kumar,.

via Apple to Kill Carrier-Irking iPhone Plan – TheStreet.

This brings to mind a recent article I wrote that any talk of mobile dominance by platform vendors is bunk.

… no single platform can win a disproportionate share because it would threaten the balance of control the operators require. So talk of “dominance” of one platform or another is hyperbole. The most likely scenario is an even distribution of share between 4 or 5 competitors.

The power of distributors in the mobile phone value chain cannot be ignored. It’s not fair, it’s not convenient and it’s not consumer friendly, but as long as networks are not good enough for mobile computing, mobile computers cannot commoditize the network.

The consequence (for those of us who try to foresee the platform game) is that operators will continue to play platforms off against each other leading to the scenario I suggest above.