Apple’s ‘soft’ SIM is not currently much of a threat to telecoms operators, due to the very simple reason that the operators are Apple’s biggest distributors. The reason so many people have iPhones is because they received them at a lower price as part of a phone plan. They’d have sold far less if you had to pay the full price for a new handset. Buying direct from Apple makes the phone up to three times as expensive. Add to this that the soft SIM still needs operators to sign up to it in order for it to work, and you have the potential to disrupt the current system, but nothing much else. Apple have tried this before and been slapped down, and there’s a reason this was quietly launched on the iPad and not a phone. It’s more to start the conversation, and for that they should be applauded. But don’t forget, this is Apple we’re talking about, and when did they ever do anything that was cheap? Chances are they’re looking not to save consumers money, but to get a slice of that nice roaming pie for themselves.
SIMs that change operators to keep roaming rates low depending where you are in the world already exist. You can find them online from places such as Telestial or GO-SIM. These international roaming SIM cards can offer you a significantly reduced rate in most territories, deals on data and so on. It’s not a perfect solution, but until the consumer outcry against these sort of charges forces operators to do away with them, it’s the best you’re going to get.