"The SIM card is the most potent instrument of control in the mobile carrier’s hands, controlling the relationship with the customer and giving it unmatched information about how its users behave."
No. The SIM is the most potent instrument of control in the *consumer's* hands. It keeps the mobile sector competitive, and stops the suppliers from simply farming us in the same way the UK utilities* do, for example. Carriers and manufacturers would love to kill the SIM, which has made the consumer king for over 20 years. This isn't Apple's first attempt to break the market by issuing non-standard kit. They can shove it, frankly.
* for those outside the UK: the gas/electric consumer sales here are an apparent cartel, there is no market or competition. Vendors are in complete control, and consumers are simply gouged.