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SIM cards getting smaller; Apple proposes shrinking them even further

Posted: , by Nick T.

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SIM cards getting smaller; Apple proposes shrinking them even further
SIM cards (Subscriber Identity Module) have not really changed much visually since their arrival to the market back in 1991. Back then, they were the size of credit cards but a different and much smaller form factor was later adopted to enable their implementation in cell phones. That is how the mini SIM card was born; just 25 millimeters long and 15 millimeters wide, it is still being used widely today.

However, times are changing and some manufacturers are starting to look for even smaller modules in order to save precious space inside their mobile devices. The even smaller micro SIM card, for example, is already in use in all 3G-enabled iPads and the iPhone 4.

A micro SIM card (top) and a mini SIM card (bottom) compared

A micro SIM card (top) and a mini SIM card (bottom) compared

Even though the micro SIM card's form factor was never widely adopted by cellphone manufacturers, Apple is suggesting that SIM cards need to be shrunk even further. Last week, Apple's proposal for a standardized SIM card with dimensions smaller than those of a  micro SIM card was submitted to ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). It didn't take long before Orange, the world's eighth largest telecom operator and one of Europe's most popular wireless carriers, expressed its support for the proposal.

If the idea gets approved by ETSI, having “nano” SIM cards with a smaller footprint will facilitate the production of devices that are too slim for a common SIM card to fit in them. It has been also mentioned that we may see the new modules being used in cell phones as early as 2012. However, that prediction sounds a bit optimistic. Such a transition would probably take longer than that, if it ever gets approved at all.

source: Reuters via Pocket-lint

10 Comments
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posted on 18 May 2011, 09:52

1. jthiagesan (Posts: 104; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


what we will do for existing phones if they start as early as 2012?????????

posted on 18 May 2011, 10:29

2. Gsmalltheway (Posts: 151; Member since: 15 Aug 2009)


You buy an adapter.....

posted on 18 May 2011, 10:46

4. jthiagesan (Posts: 104; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


Will you do the same way? or have you developed any adapters?

posted on 18 May 2011, 15:33

8. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


love the lfa btw...

posted on 19 May 2011, 05:02

11. Crossblade (Posts: 190; Member since: 21 Apr 2005)


The data standard will be kept, only the size will change. Current phones will just use the normal (mini) SIM cards.

posted on 18 May 2011, 13:20

5. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


I already hate the Nani-SIM and only a few phones use it. The nice thing about SIM cards was that you can swap phones on a whim or use your back-up phone immediately.

posted on 18 May 2011, 14:22 2

6. ATTCallCenter (unregistered)


Anyone notice that Apple has the support of Orange?

posted on 18 May 2011, 15:30

7. Mike from NY (unregistered)


You can't use an adapter. You can use an adapter for a small sim to be placed into a regular sim slot, not the other way around. How r u going to use a large sim to be palced into a small one???

posted on 19 May 2011, 05:03

12. Crossblade (Posts: 190; Member since: 21 Apr 2005)


The normal SIMs are the "mini SIM" and the one in the iPhone - the micro SIM. They have the same physical size for the chip and you can cut the bigger one to the smaller one. Or you can just get a new SIM in the appropriate size from your carrier.

posted on 18 May 2011, 17:11

10. TDroid21 (Posts: 70; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)


I am totally NOT in
favor of apple's proposal to shrink simcards.
It is NOT practical. It is NOT a necessity. Only
apple's devices applies nanosims and almost
all phones and tablets still uses microsim.
I expect ETSI to put a slapping 'NO' on apple's
face!!

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