WO2013093555A1 - An apparatus and method for identifying a plurality of network service cards available for use in a portable communication device - Google Patents

An apparatus and method for identifying a plurality of network service cards available for use in a portable communication device Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2013093555A1
WO2013093555A1 PCT/IB2011/055860 IB2011055860W WO2013093555A1 WO 2013093555 A1 WO2013093555 A1 WO 2013093555A1 IB 2011055860 W IB2011055860 W IB 2011055860W WO 2013093555 A1 WO2013093555 A1 WO 2013093555A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
network service
apparatus
card
user
particular
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2011/055860
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Manuela ZAVATTARO
Original Assignee
Nokia Corporation
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Nokia Corporation filed Critical Nokia Corporation
Priority to PCT/IB2011/055860 priority Critical patent/WO2013093555A1/en
Publication of WO2013093555A1 publication Critical patent/WO2013093555A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W8/00Network data management
    • H04W8/18Processing of user or subscriber data, e.g. subscribed services, user preferences or user profiles; Transfer of user or subscriber data
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W48/00Access restriction; Network selection; Access point selection
    • H04W48/18Selecting a network or a communication service

Abstract

An apparatus comprising at least one processor; and at least one memory including computer program code, the at least one memory and the computer program code configured to, with the at least one processor, cause the apparatus to perform at least the following: identify, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and allow a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card.

Description

An apparatus and method for identifying a plurality of network service cards available for use in a portable communication device

Technical Field The present disclosure relates to the field of communication devices, associated methods, computer programs and apparatus. Certain disclosed aspects/embodiments relate to portable electronic devices, in particular, so-called hand-portable electronic devices which may be hand-held in use (although they may be placed in a cradle in use). Such hand- portable electronic devices include so-called Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, smart devices and tablet PCs.

The portable electronic devices/apparatus according to one or more disclosed aspects/embodiments may provide one or more audio/text/video communication functions (e.g. tele-communication, video-communication, and/or text transmission (Short Message Service (SMS)/ Multimedia Message Service (MMS)/emailing) functions), interactive/non- interactive viewing functions (e.g. web-browsing, navigation, TV/program viewing functions), music recording/playing functions (e.g. MP3 or other format and/or (FM/AM) radio broadcast recording/playing), downloading/sending of data functions, image capture function (e.g. using a (e.g. in-built) digital camera), and gaming functions.

Background

Electronic devices may be configured to allow communication with other electronic devices. Communication may be the transmission of audio signals, such as the user of one electronic device speaking with another user of a second electronic device in a telephone call. Communication may also be the transmission and receipt of textual messages between two electronic devices, such as short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), e-mail or fax messages, or video or audio messages. Communication may also be the transmission and receipt of data relating to internet/intranet/network-based (web)sites. Such communication may take place over a network, and may require the use of a network service. Correspondingly, electronic devices may comprise means for using such a network service, such as the use of a network service card. Electronic devices may have access to use of more than one network service card, for example, more than one network service card being located in the device at the same time. It may be beneficial to a user of such a device to be able to choose which network service card they wish to use for any particular task.

The listing or discussion of a prior-published document or any background in this specification should not necessarily be taken as an acknowledgement that the document or background is part of the state of the art or is common general knowledge. One or more aspects/embodiments of the present disclosure may or may not address one or more of the background issues.

Summary

In a first aspect there is provided an apparatus comprising at least one processor; and at least one memory including computer program code, the at least one memory and the computer program code configured to, with the at least one processor, cause the apparatus to perform at least the following: identify, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and allow a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card. An example network service card is a SIM card, and example network services include making or receiving telephone calls, sending and receiving e-mails or other messages, or accessing the internet.

The identification to a user of the portable communications device of a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device may be independent of the apparatus having to determine that the portable communications device is to use a network service. That is, the user of the apparatus may, (e.g. at any time or at different times), be able to see details of, and select, the network service cards available for use, even if the user has not provided an indication that he is about to use a network service (for example, to call a contact). That is, the apparatus does not need to determine, or be provided with an indication that a network service is to be used to allow a user to select a particular network service card available for use. However, the selection option is available at the time a user is to use the network service such that the user selection can be provided prior to and in association with performing a network service. For example, the user has the possibility to change the network service card, or look at a list of network service cards available, independently of any determined immediate network service use by, for example, having the selection option across one or more, or all homescreens, or with application screens, which may or may not provide for use of a particular network service. The selection option is at least available for selection prior to use of the network service (e.g. in transmitting/receiving communications).

The apparatus may be configured to determine that the portable communications device is to use the network service, and in response to this determination, identify the plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide the network service to the user of the portable communications device. Thus the identification to a user of the portable communications device of a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device may be dependent on the apparatus determining that the portable communications device is to use a network service. That is, the user of the apparatus may be able to see details of, and directly select, the network service cards available for use upon the apparatus detecting that the user is about to use a network service. That is, the user has the possibility to change the network service card upon an indication that they are about to use a network service i.e. in association with and prior to using the network service as determined by the apparatus. The user may indicate they are about to use a network service by, for example, selecting a button to initiate a call when a contact is highlighted in a contacts list, pressing a send button after the composition of a message, or even selecting a missed call or a received text message in order to reply. This may thus result in the determination that the portable communications device is to use a network service. Each of the plurality of network service cards may be configured to provide particular service characteristics. The service characteristics of the particular network may comprise one or more of data management, internet access, international calling capability, international messaging capability, local calling capability, local messaging capability and signal strength. That is, one network service card may be configured for data transfer (one particular service characteristic), while another network service card may be configured for making telephone calls to local telephone numbers (another particular service characteristic), while a further network service card may be configured for calls and messages to a foreign country (a further service characteristic). Of course, a single card may have multiple characteristics.

The apparatus may be configured to select a default particular one of the plurality of network service cards to perform the network service based on the particular network service, prior to performing the network service. Thus the apparatus may, for example, select a Japanese network service card to perform the network service of making a call to a Japanese telephone number, before the number is called.

The apparatus may be configured to determine that the network service to be used is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one of the particular network service cards, and provide the one appropriate network service card prioritised as a default network service card for selection to perform the network service. For example, the apparatus may determine that the network service of sending an e-mail can be performed by a particular network service card having the particular characteristic of allowing e-mail exchanges to be made. The apparatus may prioritise such a network service card configured for e-mail exchange as a default card for performing the sending of e-mails.

The default network service card may not require user confirmation prior to being used to perform the network service. The default network service card may be automatically selected to perform the network service after a predetermined period of time after allowing a user to select a particular one of the plurality of network service cards.

The default particular one of the plurality of network service cards may be determined by the apparatus assigning a network service card on the basis of the network service card having at least one particular characteristic compatible with at least one contact having a corresponding characteristic. For example, the network service card may have the particular characteristic of being used for business calling, and a corresponding contact may be a business contact. For another example, the network service card may have the particular characteristics of being used for calling with a preferential tariff in Russia, and be intended for calling personal contacts, and a corresponding contact may be a personal contact based in Russia. The card in the latest example may have further particular characteristics, such as allowing unlimited data transfer for a set fee. The corresponding contact may also have further particular characteristics, such as preferably not receiving video messages.

The default particular one of the plurality of network service cards may be determined by the apparatus registering a user selection of network service card used with a particular contact, and assigning that network service card to that particular contact. For example, a user may manually assign a certain network service card for use with one particular contact, and the apparatus may be able to register that preference and assign that same network service card for use as a default with that same particular contact in the future.

The apparatus may be configured to determine that the network service to be used is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one or more of the particular network service cards, and provide the one or more appropriate network service cards prioritised for selection to perform the network service. That is, more than one network service card may be determined to be appropriate for performing a particular network service. Prioritised for selection may comprise ranking the appropriate network service cards in a hierarchical list in order of priority over the less appropriate network service cards, thus providing a card by card hierarchical list. Prioritised for selection may comprise ranking multiple appropriate network service cards in the hierarchical list in order of priority over the less appropriate network service cards, thus grouping more appropriate network service cards over less appropriate network service cards.

The apparatus may be configured to perform the network service. That is, the apparatus may allow a user to e.g. make a call, access the internet, send a message etc. The apparatus may be configured to select the said network service card.

The apparatus may be configured to allow a user to change the selection of a default particular one of the plurality of network service cards to perform the network service, prior to performing the network service.

The apparatus may be configured such that a user is allowed to select a particular one of the plurality of network service cards by making a selection from a combination of one or more of: a selectable status bar, at least a magnified portion of a selectable status bar, a drop-down menu, a list of icons, and a textual list.

The network service may be performable using a wireless local area network (WLAN), a cellular network, a telephony network, and/or a wireless network.

The apparatus may be an electronic device, a portable electronic device, a laptop com puter, a desktop computer, a mobile phone, a Smartphone, a tablet computer, a monitor, a personal digital assistant, a digital camera, a watch, a server, or a module/circuitry for one or more of the same.

In a further aspect there is provided a method, the method comprising: identifying , to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and allowing a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card .

In a further aspect there is provided a computer readable medium comprising computer program code stored thereon, the computer readable medium and computer program code being configured to, when run on at least one processor, perform at least the following: identify, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and allow a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card.

In a further aspect there is provided an apparatus, the apparatus comprising means for identifying, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and means for allowing a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card.

The present disclosure includes one or more corresponding aspects, embodiments or features in isolation or in various combinations whether or not specifically stated (including claimed) in that combination or in isolation. Corresponding means for performing one or more of the discussed functions are also within the present disclosure.

Corresponding computer programs for implementing one or more of the methods disclosed are also within the present disclosure and encompassed by one or more of the described embodiments. The above summary is intended to be merely exemplary and non-limiting. Brief Description of the Figures

A description is now given, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: figure 1 illustrates an example apparatus according to the present disclosure;

figure 2 illustrates another example apparatus;

figure 3 illustrates a further example apparatus;

figures 4a-4d illustrate an example embodiment of a user making a call;

figures 5a- 5d illustrate an example embodiment of a user replying to a textual message; figures 6a-6d illustrate an example embodiment of a user responding to a missed call; figures 7a-7c illustrate an example embodiment of a user browsing an internet site;

figure 8 illustrates a flowchart according to a method of the present disclosure; and figure 9 illustrates schematically a computer readable medium providing a program. Description of Example Aspects/Embodiments

Portable electronic devices may be configured to allow communication with other electronic devices. Such communication may be via a user of the device making a telephone call, sending and receiving text-based messages such as SMS, MMS, e-mail or fax messages, or video or audio messages. Communication may also be the transmission and receipt of data relating to internet/intranet/network-based websites.

Such communication may take place over a network, and may require the use of a network service. Correspondingly, electronic devices may comprise means for using such a network service, such as the use of a network service card. Subscriber identity module (SIM) cards are examples of network service cards. Portable electronic devices may have access to use more than one network service card. Devices having the ability to access two SIM cards are so-called Dual-SIM devices. More than two SIM cards or network service cards may be available for use at any one time by the device (such cards being housed in the device at the same time).

Different network service cards may be appropriate for use for different types of communication. For example, a user may use their mobile telephone for both business and personal communication, and wish to use one network service card for personal use, and another network service card for business use. Doing so may allow the provision of separate billing information for each network service card, for example. Another user may spend their time between two countries, and wish to have one network service card for use in one country, with a different network card for use in another country. In this way the user may be eligible to pay lower "local rate" fees for communication in each country for which he or she has a network service card, and may minimise possible expensive charges relating to the use of a mobile communication device in a foreign country. As another example, a user may have one network service card which is linked to a preferential tariff for sending text messages (such as allowing 500 text messages available to be sent for free each month), a different network service card allowing preferential tariffs for accessing the internet and for data transfer, and a further network service card allowing a cheaper rate for telephone calls made to other countries.

In the above scenarios, it may be advantageous to change which network service card is currently active corresponding to the particular way in which the mobile communication device and network service are to be used. If a user wishes to call contacts in their home country using one network service card, and call contacts abroad using a different network service card, the user way wish to be able to change which network service card is currently active to optimise network service card use. The user may not think to change which card is currently active until he or she has already initiated to process of making a communication, i.e. opened their e-mail inbox, started to type in a website address, or opened a contacts list in order to make a call.

One or more aspects of the described embodiments may be considered to provide an advantage to a user of a mobile communication device with multiple network service card capability, by allowing a user to see which network service card is currently in use and, perhaps upon the user initiating a communication process, allowing the user to select a different network service card if they wish. This may be achieved by the apparatus displaying a dialog box or menu for a short period of time in which the user can select a network service card. Otherwise, for example, if the user does not make any selection, the apparatus may continue using the currently active network service card, or may automatically select a network service card determined to be the most appropriate for the communication task initiated. The user may be able to override any automatic choices made by the apparatus.

Figure 1 shows an apparatus 100 comprising a processor 1 10, memory 120, input I and output O. In this embodiment only one processor and one memory are shown but it will be appreciated that other embodiments may utilise more than one processor and/or more than one memory (e.g. same or different processor/memory types). The apparatus 100 may be an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) for a portable electronic device. The apparatus 100 may also be a module for a device, or may be the device itself, wherein the processor 1 10 is a general purpose CPU and the memory 120 is general purpose memory.

The input I allows for receipt of signalling to the apparatus 100 from further components. The output O allows for onward provision of signalling from the apparatus 100 to further components. In this embodiment the input I and output O are part of a connection bus that allows for connection of the apparatus 100 to further components. The processor 1 10 is a general purpose processor dedicated to executing/processing information received via the input I in accordance with instructions stored in the form of computer program code on the memory 120. The output signalling generated by such operations from the processor 1 10 is provided onwards to further components via the output O.

The memory 120 (not necessarily a single memory unit) is a computer readable medium (such as solid state memory, a hard drive, ROM, RAM, flash or other memory) that stores computer program code. This computer program code stores instructions that are executable by the processor 1 10 when the program code is run on the processor 1 10. The internal connections between the memory 120 and the processor 1 10 can be understood to provide active coupling between the processor 1 10 and the memory 120 to allow the processor 1 10 to access the computer program code stored on the memory 120.

In this embodiment the input I, output O, processor 1 10 and memory 120 are electrically connected internally to allow for communication between the respective components I, O, 1 10, 120, which in this example are located proximate to one another as an ASIC. In this way the components I, O, 1 10, 120 may be integrated in a single chip/circuit for installation in an electronic device. In other embodiments one or more of the components may be located separately (for example, throughout a portable electronic device such as devices 200, 300 and/or may provide/support other functionality, or even distributed through the "cloud".

One or more examples of the apparatus 100 can be used as a component for another apparatus as in figure 2, which shows a variation of apparatus 100 incorporating the functionality of apparatus 100 over separate components. In other examples the device 200 may comprise apparatus 100 as a module (shown by the optional dashed line box) for a mobile phone or PDA or audio/video player or the like. Such a module, apparatus or device may just comprise a suitably configured memory and processor.

The example device 200 comprises a display 240 such as a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), e- Ink, or touch-screen user interface. The device 200 is configured such that it may receive, include, and/or otherwise access data. For example, device 200 comprises a communications unit 250 (such as a receiver, transmitter, and/or transceiver), in communication with an antenna 260 for connection to a wireless network and/or a port (not shown). Device 200 comprises a memory 220 for storing data, which may be received via antenna 260 or user interface 230. The processor 210 may receive data from the user interface 230, from the memory 220, or from the communications unit 250. Data may be output to a user of device 200 via the display device 240, and/or any other output devices provided with apparatus. The processor 210 may also store the data for later use in the memory 220. The device contains components connected via communications bus 280.

The communications unit 250 can be, for example, a receiver, transmitter, and/or transceiver, that is in communication with an antenna 260 for connecting to a wireless network and/or a port (not shown) for accepting a physical connection to a network, such that data may be received via one or more types of network. The communications (or data) bus 280 may provide active coupling between the processor 210 and the memory (or storage medium) 220 to allow the processor 210 to access the computer program code stored on the memory 220.

The memory 220 comprises computer program code in the same way as the memory 120 of apparatus 100, but may also comprise other data. The processor 210 may receive data from the user interface 230, from the memory 220, or from the communication unit 250. Regardless of the origin of the data, these data may be outputted to a user of device 200 via the display device 240, and/or any other output devices provided with apparatus. The processor 210 may also store the data for later user in the memory 220.

Device 300 may be an electronic device (including a tablet computer), a portable electronic device, a portable telecommunications device, or a module for such a device. The apparatus 100 can be provided as a module for device 300, or as a processor/memory for the device 300 or a processor/memory for a module for such a device 300. The device 300 comprises a processor 385 and a storage medium 390, which are electrically connected by a data bus 380. This data bus 380 can provide an active coupling between the processor 385 and the storage medium 390 to allow the processor 380 to access the computer program code.

The apparatus 100 in figure 3 is electrically connected to an input/output interface 370 that receives the output from the apparatus 100 and transmits this to the device 300 via data bus 380. Interface 370 can be connected via the data bus 380 to a display 375 (touch-sensitive or otherwise) that provides information from the apparatus 100 to a user. Display 375 can be part of the device 300 or can be separate. The device 300 also comprises a processor 385 that is configured for general control of the apparatus 100 as well as the device 300 by providing signalling to, and receiving signalling from, other device components to manage their operation.

The storage medium 390 is configured to store computer code configured to perform, control or enable the operation of the apparatus 100. The storage medium 390 may be configured to store settings for the other device components. The processor 385 may access the storage medium 390 to retrieve the component settings in order to manage the operation of the other device components. The storage medium 390 may be a temporary storage medium such as a volatile random access memory. The storage medium 390 may also be a permanent storage medium such as a hard disk drive, a flash memory, or a non-volatile random access memory. The storage medium 390 could be composed of different combinations of the same or different memory types.

Figures 4a-4d illustrate an example embodiment of the apparatus which is a portable electronic communications device 400, such as a smartphone or PDA, in use. The device 400 in this example comprises two network service cards (such as SIM cards). In this example, a user wishes to make a telephone call to someone whose details are stored in the contact list of the device. Figure 4a illustrates that the exemplary communications device/apparatus 400 has a touch- sensitive screen 402 and a physical keyboard 404. The screen 402 displays a status bar 406, the status bar itself displaying characteristics of a plurality (in this case, two) network service cards 407, 408 available for use by the device 400. The details in this example are the available signal strength for use with each network service card, and a label (1 , 2) for each card 407, 408. Also in this example, the device is currently configured to use network service card 1 , and the indicator for this card 407 is correspondingly highlighted in bold. The device is not currently configured to use network service card 2 (in the sense that network service card 2 may be in a comparatively passive mode), and the indicator for this card 408 is correspondingly shown 'greyed out'. It will be appreciated that there are many ways in which the network service card currently configured for use may be displayed, such as an icon corresponding to each card being shown in a different colour, on a different colour background, underlined, shown in bold, shown as a different symbol corresponding to a currently selected card, or otherwise. Other information relating to each network service card may be displayed such as the network operator, or the time/date when each card was last used.

The device 400 also displays the Contact List 409 stored on the device. The contact details of several contacts are stored in the Contact List 409 and may include: the contact name; mobile, home, business, or other telephone numbers; one or more e-mail addresses; an image or photograph; and other details. In this example the contact name and home telephone numbers are displayed for some of the contacts 410, 412, 414, 416 stored in the Contact List 409. In this example the user wishes to make a telephone call to Dave Swanson, whose details 416 are displayed on the screen 402, so the user selects 418 this contact by touching the area of the screen 402 displaying the contact details 416.

By the user making a selection 418 of a contact, the portable communications device 400 determines that it is to use a network service, that is, to make a telephone call over a mobile telephone network to the contact chosen. In response to this determination, the device 400 identifies a plurality of network service cards to the user which are available for use by the device 400 to provide the network service. The device makes this identification, for example in figure 4b, by making the status bar 420 larger to allow the user to select a particular one of the two available network service cards by either touching the indicator corresponding to network service card 1 407 to select card 1 for use, or by touching the indicator corresponding to network service card 2 408 to select card 2 for use. Figure 4b shows that network service card 1 is currently in use, but the user is about to select 424 network service card 2.

In another example such as that shown in figure 4c, the device makes the identification to the user of the available network service cards by displaying a drop-down menu 426 (in this example, the menu asks the user to "Select a SIM card to use..."). The user is allowed to select a particular one of the two available network service cards by either touching the menu item corresponding to network service card 1 428 to select card 1 for use, or by touching the menu item corresponding to network service card 2 430 to select card 2 for use. Figure 4c shows that network service card 1 is currently in use, but the user is about to select 424 network service card 2.

Whether via a status bar 420 as in figure 4b, a menu 426 as in figure 4c, or other means such as a dialog box, list of icons, list of network service card names, or other representation suitable for displaying a choice of selectable network service cards to the user, the user is allowed to select a particular one (card 1 or card 2) of the plurality of network service cards, to perform the network service of calling the selected contact 416 using that particular selected network service card, prior to and associated with performing the network service (making the call). The user choice of network service card is associated with the performance of the network service in that the chosen card would be available to choose in order to perform the network service at a time associated with performance of the activity associated with use of the network service. Figure 4d shows the network service being used to call the selected contact, after the selection of the particular selected network service card number 2 in figure 4b or 4c. In the examples shown in figures 4b and 4c, the identification to the user of a plurality of network service cards available for use is dependent on the apparatus determining that the portable communications device is to use a network service (in this example, by the user selecting a contact from the Contact List 409). That is, the user is only presented with the enlarged status bar 420 or the drop down menu 426, in order to select a network service card if they wish, because they have already indicated they are to use a network service, by selecting a contact. In this example, selecting a contact indicates to the device that the user wishes to use a network service, to call or to send a message to the selected contact.

It may be envisaged in other examples that the user is able to, at any time, select an icon from the status bar 406 shown in figure 4a and figure 4d, independently of whether or not the user is about to use a network service and e.g. call a contact. The status bar may always be selectable by the user in order to look at their available network service cards, and change the currently active card, if they user desires.

In the examples shown in figures 4b and 4c, the details of the selected contact are shown on the screen 422 during the step of allowing the user to select a network service card. These details include the contact name, home telephone number, and an indicator of an appropriate network service card for that contact. It may be that an indicator of an appropriate network service card for a particular contact is useful for the user as a visual cue as to which network service card to select prior to making the telephone call. In figures 4b and 4c, the user 424 is about to select network service card 2. In another example, the apparatus may determine that the network service to be used (making a telephone call) is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one of the particular network service cards. In this example, the apparatus may determine that network service card 2 would be the most appropriate card to use in making the telephone call (since this card is associated with the contact to be called). In this case the apparatus may provide the one appropriate network service card as a prioritised network service card for selection to perform the network service of calling the contact. The apparatus may do this, for example, by automatically highlighting the prioritised network service card determined to be the most appropriate to use (card 2) in the steps shown in figures 4b or 4c (rather than network service card 1 as shown in figures 4b and 4c). The apparatus may mark the determined most appropriate card in some way to show that it is prioritised, for example by showing an asterisk next to, or otherwise highlighting, the indicator of the determined most appropriate network service card to show it is prioritised. The apparatus may be configured to set the card determined to be the most appropriate network service card as a default card.

After such a determination of the most appropriate card by the apparatus and setting it as a default, the user may be allowed to change the selection of the default particular one of the plurality of network service cards prior to the device performing the network service. That is, even if the apparatus determined that, for example, network service card 2 is the most appropriate and marks or pre-selects it as such as a default option, the used is still allowed to choose card 1 if he or she wishes to.

The apparatus may not require any user confirmation or other user input (i.e. selection of a non-default card) prior to the most appropriate card being used as a default card to perform the network service of calling the contact. For example, if the user does not make a selection of a network service card within a predetermined period of time after being allowed by the apparatus to select a particular card from the plurality of identified cards as in figures 4b and 4c, then the apparatus may automatically select a default network service card to perform the network service (make the call). In the embodiments illustrated in figure 4, if for example, the user did not make a choice of card within a predetermined period of time, then the apparatus may automatically select network service card 2, since this would be the card associated with the chosen contact and therefore prioritised as a default network service card for performing the network service of calling the contact. The predetermined period of time may be, for example, two seconds (or may be longer or shorter than two seconds).

The determination of the most appropriate network service card to use when calling a particular contact may be done by the user by selecting a card as shown in figures 4b and 4c or by the apparatus after the user has had the option of selecting a card,. There are several possible ways in which the determination may be made. For example, if the user has two available network service cards, one for personal calls, and one for business calls, then the user may assign a preferred network service card to contacts according to whether they are business contacts or personal contacts and label each contact entry 410, 412, 414, 416 in the contact list 409 with an indication of the preferred card (shown in this example in the contact details 422). Thus before accessing the network to e.g. make a call, the preferred card to use for each contact is indicated so that the user of the apparatus may be given an advanced indication of the default network service card. Such use of different network service cards may provide an advantage to the user to that they may manage their call billing, for example.

If the user has allocated a particular contact as a business contact and a particular network service card for use for business calls, the apparatus may automatically assign the business- assigned network service card for use with the business contact without the user having to make a specific card selection for that particular contact (the business contact and the business network would be considered to be compatible). This may be at the time of making use of a network service (e.g. at the time of calling) or as part of a general association process not limited to performance of an activity which would require network use.

Different network service cards may be configured to provide particular service characteristics. For example, the user may spend time in the UK, France, and China, and have a different network service card appropriate for use in each of those countries (for example, for cheaper calling rates in China a Chinese network service card may used). The user may assign (or the apparatus may automatically assign) a network service card to each contact. The apparatus may have the capability to determine which country a number is associated with based on the international dialling code of the number, and may assign a network service card to that contact number appropriate for calling that country. The apparatus may e.g. assign a France Telecom network service card to a contact that has a home contact number beginning +33, as the network service card has the characteristic of being able to call French telephone numbers, which is compatible with a contact having a French telephone number. Also, the apparatus may recognise contact number formats and assign a (British) Three™ network service card (not shown) to a contact who has a mobile telephone number in the format of a British mobile telephone number (beginning 07, with 1 1 digits in total excluding any international dialling code). The Three™ network service card has a characteristic (being able to call UK numbers) compatible with calling a contact having a UK telephone number. Alternatively, the user may manually assign an appropriate network service card according to which country a particular contact resides in. Then when the apparatus determines that a network service is about to be used (by, for example, a user selecting a contact in a contact list), the user may choose which card to use to call that contact based on the previous assignment of preferred card. Alternatively, the apparatus may automatically select a default network service card based, for example, on the previous assignment of preferred card. The apparatus may be able to register the previous user selection of network card for use in contacting a particular contact, and set this card as a default in contacting the same particular contact again. By the apparatus registering previous user network service card selections in contacting a particular contact person or number, the apparatus may effectively learn the user's preferences.

As a further example, the user may call a number for the first time by manually entering the number on a keypad, as opposed to selecting a contact from a contact list. The apparatus may register (store) which network service card was used to call this new number for the first time, and if the user decides to store/save the entered number as a contact number in the contact list, the apparatus may automatically assign the network service card used in the call made to this number as a recommended card for use in calling that contact. Another example of network service card use may be if the user has a device capable of making telephone calls and accessing the internet. The user may have one network service card configured to provide particular service characteristics for making telephone calls, such as a prepaid amount of calling time available to make telephone calls. Another network service card may be configured to provide particular service characteristics for transmitting/receiving data and accessing the internet, such as a network service card allowing unlimited data transfer for a fixed cost. Therefore the user may be able to select the most appropriate card based on whether he or she is about to make a call or access the internet. After a predetermined period of time in which the user is allowed to select which card to use, the apparatus may automatically select a default particular one of the plurality of network service cards based on the particular network service to be used, i.e. based on whether the user is about to make a call or access the internet (or perform another network based activity such as sending an e-mail or text based message). The apparatus may choose the default network service card to have a characteristic compatible with the corresponding network service to be used i.e. a network service card able to transmit/receive data maybe considered compatible with the network service of accessing the internet. Figures 4b and 4c show different ways in which the apparatus allows the user to select a network service card. Both examples show that the user is about to select 424 network service card 2 to make the call. Figure 4d then shows the call being made to the contact 422 using network service card 2 434. The indicator for the particular selected network service card 2 434 is shown highlighted in bold to indicate that this is the card being used, while the indicator for card 1 432 is greyed out as this card is not currently configured for use. After the call is terminated, the apparatus may keep network service card 2 as the active card. It may alternatively revert back to network service card 1 which was active prior to the call being initiated.

Example options may be available to the user during the call and are shown in figure 4d including hanging up/terminating the call 436 and using a speakerphone function 438. An image associated with the contact being called may be displayed 440. Other information related to the contact may also be displayed or accessible during the call such as the name, number being called, and the network service card associated with that contact 422.

Figures 5a-5d illustrate an example embodiment of the apparatus which is a portable electronic communications device 500, such as a smartphone, PDA, or tablet PC in use. The device 500 in this example comprises two network service cards. In this example, a user wishes to reply to an SMS message (this example may also apply to a user replying to, or sending, a different type of text based message such as an MMS, e-mail, or fax).

Figure 5a shows the device 500 with a touch sensitive screen displaying icons allowing different functionality 502, a status bar 504 showing indicators 506, 508 corresponding to the available network service cards, and a list of messages 510 stored on the device. Each message 512, 514, 516, 518 in this example is shown indicating the sender's name, an initial portion of the received message, the time/date when the message was received, and a preferred network service card 520, 522 assigned to each message. In this example, two network service cards are available, card 1 and card 2, and currently card 1 is shown 506 (highlighted) to be in use while card 2 is shown 508 (greyed out) not to be in use. The user in this example wishes to reply to a message 518 and selects that message by touching 524 the area of the touch-sensitive screen displaying the details of that message.

Figure 5b shows the message history 526 (conversation 526) between the user and the contact who sent the selected message 518. In this example the messages received from the contact 527 indicate an assigned preferred network service card for replying to that message. It may be imagined that in this example, the contact being replied to has a Swedish mobile telephone, and that network service card 2 allows the user a preferential cost over card 1 for transmitting messages to Swedish mobile telephone numbers. The user can use the displayed virtual keyboard 530 to compose a message 528 to reply to the selected message 518. When the user has finished composing the reply message 538 the device detects that the user has finished composing the reply message 538 (for example by the user touching an "OK" or "finished" button (not shown)). Upon detecting that the message has been composed, the apparatus determines that the portable communications device 500 is to use a network service, to transmit the completed message 538. It may be envisaged that if the user, instead of indicating that the message was ready to be sent (by touching an "OK" button, for example), would rather save their composed message as a draft for future possible amendment and transmission. In this case the user would select an option such as "Save in Drafts", and in this case, the apparatus would recognise that the user was not about to require a network service, and therefore not provide any prompt or option to the user to select a network service card.

However, in this example, the user selects an "OK" option instructing the apparatus that the message is to be transmitted, and thus the apparatus recognises the user action and determines that a network service is about to be used (to transmit the message). In response to the determination, the apparatus identifies to the user via a magnified status bar 504, as shown in figure 5c, a plurality of network service cards (in this case, two) available for use by the portable communications device to provide the network service allowing the message 538 to be transmitted. In other examples, the apparatus may not need to determine that a network service is about to be used. It may be that the user is performing a task using the apparatus which may require the use of a network service at some point. The apparatus may identify, to the user, the available network service cards should the user wish to select a network service card appropriate for the task being performed. For example, during the composition of a message (e.g. SMS, MMS, e-mail), whether the user is about to send the message immediately after composition, save the message as a draft, or delete the message (or perform some other action), the user may be allowed to select a particular one of the available network service cards to perform the network service associated with the message, i.e. to transmit the message.

In figure 5c, the message 538 is displayed on the screen along with the name of the contact to whom the message will be sent 536, and the indicator of a preferred network service card assigned to that contact 539. At the top of the screen the status bar 504 is shown larger to indicate to the user that he or she is allowed to select one of the two available network service cards, card 1 532 or card 2 534, in order to use the network service associated with the selected network service card to transmit the message. The apparatus may display to the user that a network service card may be selected via the status bar, as shown, or via other representations such as a drop-down menu, displaying icons corresponding to the plurality of available cards on the screen, or other representation.

The user in this case may wish to select card 2 since this card is indicated 539 as being appropriate for use in contacting the chosen contact/recipient, and they may do so by touching the area of the screen displaying details for card 2 534. In this example as shown in figure 5c, the apparatus has actually automatically determined card 2 to be the most appropriate card for use in sending a message to this particular contact, and so has prioritised this one appropriate network service card as a default network service card for selection, by automatically highlighting it 524 and greying out the other available selection 532 of card 1 . The user has the ability to override this automatic designation of a default card if they wish, and change the selection of the chosen default card before the message is sent by, for example, touching the indicator for card 1 532. However, in this example the user is happy with the automatic selection made by the apparatus and does not select any particular network service card. Thus the user in this example is not required to make a change/selection, although they have the option of doing so. The apparatus does not require any user confirmation prior to using card 2 to send the message, and after a predetermined period of time (e.g. two seconds), the default network service card is automatically selected by the apparatus as shown.

In figure 5d, the user has transmitted the message 538 and this response is shown at the end of the conversation 526. In this example the apparatus remains using network service card 2 as the active card as indicated 542. In other examples, the apparatus may revert back to having network service card 1 active (indicated in figure 5a 506) as was the case before the user decided to send a message.

In another example, rather than having to initiate the message transmission process by pressing "OK", the user may just select a particular icon associated with the desired/required network service card to be used, available on-screen during message composition, for example, to transmit the message using the network service card associated with the selected icon.

In the examples shown in figures 5a-5d, the identification to the user of a plurality of network service cards available for use is dependent on the apparatus determining that the portable communications device is to use a network service (in this example, by the user indicating that they have completed composing a text message 538 and that it is ready for transmission). That is, the user is only presented with the enlarged status bar 504, in order to select a network service card if they wish, because they have already indicated they are to use a network service to send the text message 538.

It may be envisaged in other examples that the user is able to, at any time, select an icon from the status bar 504 shown in figured 5a, independently of whether or not the user is about to use a network service and e.g. call a contact. The status bar may always be selectable by the user in order to look at their available network service cards, and change the currently active card by selecting another network service card, if the user desires. Figures 6a-6d illustrate an example embodiment of the apparatus which is a portable electronic communications device 600, such as a smartphone, PDA, or tablet PC in use. The device 600 in this example comprises three network service cards. In this example, a user wishes to reply to a missed call.

Figure 6a shows the device 600 with a touch sensitive screen showing a status bar 602 with indicators 604, 606, 608 corresponding to the three available network service cards, and a call history 610. Each time a call is made, received, missed (or otherwise managed, e.g. diverted) an entry is made in the call history 610. Each entry shown in this example 612, 614, 616, 618, 620 indicates the other party's name, contact telephone number, the time/date when the corresponding call was made/received, and an indication of an associated network service card for that contact. It may be imagined that if no network service card is assigned to a contact, no indication is shown for that contact. Each entry also indicates in this example whether the corresponding call has been made 624, received 622, or missed 626.

In this example, three network service cards are available, card 1 , card 2 and card 3, and currently card 1 is shown 604 to be in use (highlighted) while card 2 and card 3 are shown 606, 608 not to be in use (greyed out). The user in this example wishes to reply to a missed call 618 from Seb Pauliac and selects that call history entry by touching 620 the area of the touch-sensitive screen displaying the details 618 of that missed call. Upon the user touching an entry in the call history, the apparatus determines that the device 600 is to use a network service, in this example to return the missed call. In response to this determination, the apparatus identifies to the user in figure 6b a plurality of network service cards (in this case, three) available for use by the portable communications device to provide the network service, allowing the user to return the missed call. The user is allowed to select a particular one of the three available network service cards to return the missed call, prior to returning the call and the choice of network service card is made in order to perform the network service i.e. a network service card is chosen in association with performing a particular network service (such as returning a call).

It may be that the identification to the user of a plurality of network service cards available for use in figure 6b is dependent on the apparatus determining that the portable communications device is to use a network service (in this example, by the user indicating that are about to return a missed call). That is, the user is only presented with the icon menu of SIM cards available 636 in order to select a network service card if they wish, because they have already indicated they are to use a network service and return a missed call.

In other examples the user may be able to, at any time or at different times, select an icon from the status bar 602 shown in figures 6a-6d, independently of whether or not the user is about to use a network service and e.g. return a missed call. The status bar may always be selectable by the user in order to look at their available network service cards, and change the currently active card, if the user desires.

Figure 6b shows details of the three available network service cards available under the heading "SIM cards available" 636 as selectable icons on the screen. In this example, card 1 indicated 640 is for use with the France Telecom network, card 2 indicated 638 is for use with the Orange network, and card 3 indicated 642 is for use of the Vodafone network. The details of the person who is to be contacted 644 are also shown, including their name, contact number, and an indicator of a preferred network service card 646 assigned to that contact. The apparatus in this example has determined that the network service to be used (making a telephone call) is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one or more of the particular network service cards (cards 1 , 2 and 3 in this example). The apparatus has therefore provided the one or more appropriate network service cards prioritised for selection to perform the network service (making a call). The cards have been prioritised for selection by ranking them in a hierarchical list in order of priority (from most to least appropriate, from top to bottom of the list 636) for selection to perform the network service, i.e. make a call to the selected contact.

In this example the apparatus has determined that network service card 2 is the most appropriate (as this card is associated with the contact to be called), and has therefore prioritised this card by placing it at the top of the list of available cards. Network service card 1 has been determined to be the next most appropriate, and network service card 3 has been determined to be the least appropriate. In this example, the apparatus has determined network service card 3 to be the least appropriate as it has the weakest signal strength (indicated by the signal strength bars on the left of the card indicator 642). Other ranking criteria are possible, such as the network service capability of each available network service card, or the amount of available pre-paid credit associated with each available network service card.

In this case the user selects network service card 2 by touching 648 the area on the touch- sensitive screen corresponding to card 2. The user's selection of card 2 is shown in the status bar 602 at the top of the screen which indicates that card 2 has been selected 632 while card 1 630 and card 3 643 are not active. It will be appreciated that such a status bar need not be at the top of the screen, but may be at the bottom, or a side, and may be hidden and revealed by the user, or automatically by the apparatus.

If the user did not select a network service card within a predetermined period of time (e.g. two seconds), the apparatus does not necessarily require any user confirmation or selection, and the apparatus can automatically prioritise one appropriate network service card and provide this for selection to perform the network service. In this example, the apparatus may automatically determine card 2 to be the most appropriate card for use in sending a message to this particular contact, and so prioritise this one appropriate network service card as a default network service card for selection. The user may have the ability to override any automatic designation of a default card if they wish.

In figure 6c, the apparatus is calling the contact 660 whose details are displayed in the screen 662. Example options may be available to the user during the call and are shown in figure 6c including hanging up/terminating the call 656 and using a speakerphone function 658. The apparatus indicates on the screen in the status bar 602 that network service card 2 is in use 652 by highlighting this indicator. The network service cards not in use, card 1 and card three, have their indicators 650, 654, in the status bar 602 greyed out.

Figure 6d shows the apparatus after the call has been terminated. In this example the apparatus reverts back to using network service card 1 as the active network service 664, as this was the card used before the network service was used to make the call. In other examples, the apparatus may remain using network service card 2 as the active card, as card 1 was the last used card. The call history in this example 610 shows the last made call at the top of the list 670.

Figures 7a-7c illustrate an example embodiment of the apparatus which is a portable electronic communications device 700, such as a smartphone, or tablet PC, in use. The device 700 in this example comprises four network service cards. In this example, a user wishes to access the internet and browse a news website.

Figure 7a shows the device 700 with a touch sensitive screen showing a field 702 in which the user can enter a universal resource locator (URL) such as a website address or Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) link, or search term. An indicator is shown in the top right corner of the display 704 to show the network service card currently active. It may be envisaged that the user has different network service cards available for accessing the internet for personal use, accessing the internet for business use, for accessing local area networked computers, and for making internet-based telephone calls, for example. The user in this example is entering a web address 708 into the field 702 via the displayed virtual keyboard 706 in order to browse the BBC news website.

In the examples shown in figures 7a-7c, the identification to the user of a plurality of network service cards available for use is not dependent on the apparatus determining that the portable communications device is to use a network service, by for example accessing the internet. The user in this example is able to select the icon 704 at any time and manage the available network service cards. Alternatively, as shown in figure 7b, the apparatus determines that the device 700 is to use a network service upon the user entering the web address 702, in this example to access the internet and display the BBC news website. In response to this determination as shown in figure 7b, the apparatus identifies to the user a plurality of network service cards (in this case, four) available for use by the portable communications device to provide the network service. The apparatus allows the user to select a particular network service card prior to and for the purpose of (i.e. associated with) accessing the internet and browsing the selected website. In other examples, a drop down menu or other selectable list of network service cards may be available upon the user opening an internet browser application (or starting another application such as an e-mail application), to allow the user to select a network service card before the entering or selection of any web address (or in the case of an e-mail application, before the user begins any message composition).

In this example the user has been presented with a menu of available network service cards 714, 716, 718, 720, in order to select a network service card, because the user has already indicated they are to use a network service to access the internet (by entering a web address 702). Of course in other examples the user may be able to select a network service card regardless of whether or not they are about to use a network service.

Figure 7b shows details of the four available network service cards available. The apparatus has determined that the network service to be used (internet access) is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one or more of the particular network service cards, in this example cards 2 and 3 (card 2 714 and card 3 716 are indicated in the list of Recommended cards 710), and the apparatus has provided the one or more appropriate network service cards prioritised for selection to perform the network service. In this case the multiple appropriate network service cards, cards 2 and 3, have been prioritised for selection in a hierarchical list ranked in order of priority. In this example, network service card 2 may be configured to allow unlimited internet access for a set fee, and so is determined to be the preferred card to use in performing the network service of accessing the internet. Network service card 3 also allows for internet access, but the service provider associated with card 3 charges the user dependent on the amount of data accessed, and so while card 3 is appropriate for use in accessing the internet, it is less preferred for use in accessing the internet, and therefore is lower in the hierarchical list, than card 2.

Network service card 1 in this example is only available for use in Brazil and the user and apparatus in this example are not currently in Brazil. Network service card 1 also has very low signal strength as indicated by the bars on the left of the list entry 718. The apparatus has determined that this network service card is a less appropriate network service card and has therefore included this card 718 in the list under the heading "Non-appropriate card" 712. Network service card 4 allows telephone calls to be made and SMS text messages to be transmitted and received, but it does not allow access to the internet, and therefore this network service card is also determined by the apparatus to be a less appropriate network service card, and is also indicated 720 as a "non-appropriate card" 712 in the hierarchical list. The network service cards which are not determined to be appropriate may or may not be listed in a hierarchical list, since they are not suitable for use in for the particular network service in question anyway. In this example the apparatus has determined that network service card 2 is the most appropriate and has therefore prioritised this card by placing it at the top of the list of available cards. The user selects network service card 2 by touching 722 the area on the touch-sensitive screen corresponding to card 2 714. If the user did not select a network service card within a predetermined period of time (e.g. two seconds), the apparatus does not necessarily require any user confirmation or selection, and the apparatus can automatically prioritise one appropriate network service card and provide this for selection to perform the network service. In this example, the apparatus may automatically determine card 2 to be the most appropriate card for use in accessing the internet, and so prioritise this one appropriate network service card as a default network service card for selection. The user may have the ability to override any automatic designation of a default card if they wish by selecting a different network service card.

In figure 7c, the apparatus is accessing the internet and displaying content 726 from the chosen website on screen. The apparatus indicates on the screen in the top right corner 724 that network service card 2 is in use. In this example, the other network service cards not in use are not indicated on screen while no operations are being performed relating to these network service cards.

In all the examples described herein, it will be appreciated that the apparatus may be configured to not allow the use of any available network service card, for example, if the communication device is put into a mode which does not allow communication (such as a "flight mode" or a particular "standby" mode.)

Advantages of one or more of the examples described may include that the user is provided not only with an indication as to which network service card is in use at any time, but is also provided with the option of selecting a different network service card should they wish to at an appropriate time, that is, just prior to and in association with using a network service. The user need not be concerned with pre-setting a particular network service card or navigating any (possibly unfamiliar) menu systems before actually deciding to perform any action using a network service. If the details of a particular contact are displayed and include an indication of a preferred network service card for use with that contact, the user both has a visual cue via the indication of which network service card is the most appropriate, and the ability to change to that network service card if they wish. Further, the user need not take any action at all if they do not wish to. If the apparatus can automatically determine an appropriate network service card for the particular network service initiated, and select this as a default appropriate network service card with which to perform the related network service, the user need take no action at all, but they do have the option to. Thus the user has the ability to make an informed selection should they choose to, based upon the particular network service based task in hand.

Figure 8 shows a flow diagram illustrating the steps of identifying a plurality of network service cards to a user 802, and allowing a user to select a particular network service card 804, and is self-explanatory.

Figure 9 illustrates schematically a computer/processor readable medium 900 providing a program according to an embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the computer/processor readable media is a disc such as a digital versatile disc (DVD) or a compact disc (CD). In other embodiments, the computer readable medium may be any medium that has been programmed in such a way as to carry out an inventive function. The computer program code may be distributed between the multiple memories of the same type, or multiple memories of a different type, such as ROM, RAM, flash, hard disk, solid state, etc.

It will be appreciated that the apparatus of the described embodiments may be an electronic device, a portable electronic device, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a mobile phone, a Smartphone, a tablet computer, a monitor, a personal digital assistant, a digital camera, a watch, a server, or a module/circuitry for one or more of the same.

It will be appreciated that any mentioned apparatus/device and/or other features of particular mentioned apparatus/device may be provided by apparatus arranged such that they become configured to carry out the desired operations only when enabled, e.g. switched on, or the like. In such cases, they may not necessarily have the appropriate software loaded into the active memory in the non-enabled (e.g. switched off state) and only load the appropriate software in the enabled (e.g. on state). The apparatus may comprise hardware circuitry and/or firmware. The apparatus may comprise software loaded onto memory. Such software/computer programs may be recorded on the same memory/processor/functional units and/or on one or more memories/processors/ functional units.

In some embodiments, a particular mentioned apparatus/device may be pre-programmed with the appropriate software to carry out desired operations, and wherein the appropriate software can be enabled for use by a user downloading a "key", for example, to unlock/enable the software and its associated functionality. Advantages associated with such embodiments can include a reduced requirement to download data when further functionality is required for a device, and this can be useful in examples where a device is perceived to have sufficient capacity to store such pre-programmed software for functionality that may not be enabled by a user.

It will be appreciated that the any mentioned apparatus/circuitry/elements/processor may have other functions in addition to the mentioned functions, and that these functions may be performed by the same apparatus/circuitry/elements/processor. One or more disclosed aspects may encompass the electronic distribution of associated computer programs and computer programs (which may be source/transport encoded) recorded on an appropriate carrier (e.g. memory, signal). It will be appreciated that any "computer" described herein can comprise a collection of one or more individual processors/processing elements that may or may not be located on the same circuit board, or the same region/position of a circuit board or even the same device. In some embodiments one or more of any mentioned processors may be distributed over a plurality of devices. The same or different processor/processing elements may perform one or more functions described herein. It will be appreciated that the term "signalling" may refer to one or more signals transmitted as a series of transmitted and/or received electrical/optical signals. The series of signals may comprise one or more individual signal components or distinct signals to make up said signalling. Some or all of these individual signals may be transmitted/received by wireless or wired communication simultaneously, in sequence, and/or such that they temporally overlap one another.

With reference to any discussion of any mentioned computer and/or processor and memory (e.g. including ROM, CD-ROM etc), these may comprise a computer processor, Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), and/or other hardware components that have been programmed in such a way to carry out the inventive function.

The applicant hereby discloses in isolation each individual feature described herein and any combination of two or more such features, to the extent that such features or combinations are capable of being carried out based on the present specification as a whole, in the light of the common general knowledge of a person skilled in the art, irrespective of whether such features or combinations of features solve any problems disclosed herein, and without limitation to the scope of the claims. The applicant indicates that the disclosed aspects/embodiments may consist of any such individual feature or combination of features. In view of the foregoing description it will be evident to a person skilled in the art that various modifications may be made within the scope of the disclosure.

While there have been shown and described and pointed out fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the devices and methods described may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, it is expressly intended that all combinations of those elements and/or method steps which perform substantially the same function in substantially the same way to achieve the same results are within the scope of the invention. Moreover, it should be recognized that structures and/or elements and/or method steps shown and/or described in connection with any disclosed form or embodiment of the invention may be incorporated in any other disclosed or described or suggested form or embodiment as a general matter of design choice. Furthermore, in the claims means-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents, but also equivalent structures. Thus although a nail and a screw may not be structural equivalents in that a nail employs a cylindrical surface to secure wooden parts together, whereas a screw employs a helical surface, in the environment of fastening wooden parts, a nail and a screw may be equivalent structures.

Claims

Claims
1 . An apparatus comprising:
at least one processor; and
at least one memory including computer program code,
the at least one memory and the computer program code configured to, with the at least one processor, cause the apparatus to perform at least the following:
identify, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and
allow a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the identification to a user of the portable communications device of a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device is independent of the apparatus having to determine that the portable communications device is to use a network service.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to determine that the portable communications device is to use the network service, and in response to this determination, identify the plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide the network service to the user of the portable communications device.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein each of the plurality of network service cards are configured to provide particular service characteristics.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to select a default particular one of the plurality of network service cards to perform the network service based on the particular network service, prior to performing the network service.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to:
determine that the network service to be used is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one of the particular network service cards; and
provide the one appropriate network service card prioritised as a default network service card for selection to perform the network service.
7. The apparatus of claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the default network service card does not require user confirmation prior to being used to perform the network service.
8. The apparatus of claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the default network service card is automatically selected to perform the network service after a predetermined period of time after allowing a user to select a particular one of the plurality of network service cards.
9. The apparatus of claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the default particular one of the plurality of network service cards is determined by the apparatus assigning a network service card on the basis of the network service card having at least one particular characteristic compatible with at least one contact having a corresponding characteristic.
10. The apparatus of claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the default particular one of the plurality of network service cards is determined by the apparatus registering a user selection of network service card used with a particular contact, and assigning that network service card to that particular contact.
1 1. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to:
determine that the network service to be used is appropriate for the particular characteristics of one or more of the particular network service cards; and
provide the one or more appropriate network service cards prioritised for selection to perform the network service.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 1 , wherein prioritised for selection comprises ranking the appropriate network service cards in a hierarchical list in order of priority over the less appropriate network service cards.
13. The apparatus of claim 1 1 , wherein prioritised for selection comprises ranking multiple appropriate network service cards in the hierarchical list in order of priority over the less appropriate network service cards.
14. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to perform the network service.
15. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to select the said network service card.
16. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is configured to allow a user to change the selection of a default particular one of the plurality of network service cards to perform the network service, prior to performing the network service.
17. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the user is allowed to select a particular one of the plurality of network service cards by making a selection from a combination of one or more of: a selectable status bar, at least a magnified portion of a selectable status bar, a drop-down menu, a list of icons, and a textual list.
18. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the service characteristics of the particular network comprise one or more of data management, internet access, international calling capability, international messaging capability, local calling capability, local messaging capability and signal strength.
19. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the network service is performable using one or more of a wireless local area network (WLAN), a cellular network, a telephony network, and/or a wireless network.
20. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the apparatus is:
an electronic device, a portable electronic device, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a mobile phone, a Smartphone, a tablet computer, a monitor, a personal digital assistant, a digital camera, a watch, a server, or a module/circuitry for one or more of the same.
21. A method, the method comprising:
identifying, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and
allowing a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card.
22. A computer readable medium comprising computer program code stored thereon, the computer readable medium and computer program code being configured to, when run on at least one processor, perform at least the following:
identify, to a user of a portable communications device, a plurality of network service cards available for use by the portable communications device to provide a network service; and
allow a user to select a particular one of the plurality of the available network service cards to perform the network service, prior to and in association with performing the network service using the particular selected network service card.
PCT/IB2011/055860 2011-12-21 2011-12-21 An apparatus and method for identifying a plurality of network service cards available for use in a portable communication device WO2013093555A1 (en)

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