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The SIM cards they are a shrinkin’. Introducing the nano-SIM

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A micro-SIM. The nano-SIM is 30 percent smaller.

SIM cards, those tiny slivers of silicon that carry your identity inside a cell phone or connected device, are once again poised to get smaller as Giesecke & Devrient introduces the nano-SIM. And if adopted, smaller SIM cards could mean thinner, sexier devices or more room for useful things such as larger batteries.

The nano-SIM is a third smaller than the micro-SIM, which can be found inside Apple’s iPhone 4 and 4S (s aapl), and it is 60 percent smaller than the SIM cards found inside many of today’s GSM handsets. It’s also 15 percent thinner. The nano-SIM could find its way into the first mobile devices as early as next year.

G&D, a Munich-based company, produced the world’s first SIM card, and like Apple, it is seeking to shrink the form factor as far as it will go. In May Apple submitted a nano-SIM standard to the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). G&D says the organization aims to standardize the nano-SIM by the end of the year, and an adapter will make the nano-SIM backwards-compatible with older devices.

Carriers seem amenable to the idea, so it could soon become that much easier to lose your SIM card. Happy hunting.

8 Responses to “The SIM cards they are a shrinkin’. Introducing the nano-SIM”

  1. New for 2021: The Yocto-SIM! It’s so small, your dealer must use specialized equipment to install it and seal the phone. No more losing SIM cards swapped between devices… (PR spiel goes on for another ~15 grafs…)

  2. Rather than go to the bother of making the SIM even smaller (which seems completely unnecessary IMHO), why not just introduce a way to use NFC tags (issued to the end user by the network operator) to programme devices with the subscriber module information?

    Is a physical SIM still a requirement given that there are several technologies now available (eg. NFC, Cloud Storage, on-device Flash storage etc.) that could combine to fulfil it’s original purpose.

    • mick marrs

      SIMS are a PITA. There was a time carriers would put smallish Java apps and WAP programs on them, but was when phones were just phones. Really all the SIM is now, is your mobile “identity” used to register your device to the network. It basically carries a unique serial number and cryptographic keys. They are a pain, because you lose them, carriers and retailers have to stock and inventory them, they are outdated.

    • SIM cards handle authentication on devices. So they provide an extra layer of security. Authentication between the mobile network is handled on the SIM which has a small processor on it. That makes it harder to hack communications on the device. (It’s still possible. But not something that is done by an app.)

    • Just dial *228 from any VZW branded phone. Follow the steps outlined. And you are done.

      Contacts? Use VZW Backup manager, or if you have a smartphone Google will backup your contacts.