Apple has patented an idea that might, if implemented, would be a huge benefit to iOS users. According to a patent discovered by AppleInsider, Apple might be looking into giving iPhone users control of their carrier.

No, they are not giving you the address and key to AT&T’s headquarters. Rather, they are thinking of a way that an iPhone could locally store carrier information and configuration profiles so that users can switch between them at will. This comes as a confirmation to the rumor we’ve been hearing since last October.

In other words, the patent titled “Method and Apparatus for Using a Wireless Communication Device with Multiple Service Providers” will eliminate the need to ever have to walk into T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or any other carriers’ store to set up your plan again.

The idea consists of software that could store carriers data and voice plans, essentially giving you the power to choose your own plan straight from your device. If you select Verizon, unlimited text, 400 minutes, and 2GB of data, the iPhone will know and the right configurations will kick in. This would be similar to what you can already do on the iPad, in the US, without the carrier part.

While such an option would be exciting, I’m wondering how on earth Apple will ever persuade carriers to go with it. What I can tell you is that if this ever happens, it will probably take a while, so don’t expect it in your next iPhone. On the other hand, it proves that Apple is indeed thinking about it, and a better day of true carrier competition might be ahead of us.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments!