Nano-SIM standard decided by European standards institute

Nano-SIM standard decided by European standards institute

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has announced that they have decided on the next generation of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. The original iPhone (and many other phones) used mini-SIM cards. The iPad and iPhone 4 were among the first devices to use the much smaller micro-SIM standard. This new nano-SIM design will be 40% smaller than current iPhone micro-SIM cards, measuring 12.3 mm wide, 8.8 mm high, and 0.67 mm thick. 

It's still unclear if ETSI sided with Apple's original submission, or the compromised design offered by RIM, but one way or the other, Apple played a big role in the decision.

RIM's original design wasn't backwards-compatible, which was one of the main tenets of Apple's, but ETSI says that the next generation of SIM cards should play nice with older hardware. If it feels like we're pretty much skipping right over the micro-SIM standard, don't worry -- outside of Apple, manufacturers have taken a long, long time to adapt it, and no doubt  it will take a year or two before manufacturers start pumping out phones in mass that support the new SIM standard. Plus there are service providers that will need to make the transition on their end.

Ultimately, a smaller SIM card means a smaller SIM card slot, which means more room for other smartphone internals. This is a consistent theme for Apple, who aggressively moved to the micro-SIM and pushed hard for the nano-SIM. Next generation phones like the iPhone 5 will almost certainly use LTE 4G networking chips, which still aren't as small and power efficient as 3G chips. Apple will need space, be it for more memory, processor cores, sensors, battery, or antennae. That's also the likely reason Apple may soon adopt a smaller dock connector port as well -- every millimeter matters.

Specifics on the new SIM standard will be published shortly, but until then we can be sure of one thing: the new card will be very, very tiny.

Source: ETSI via TNW

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Nano-SIM standard decided by European standards institute


"Apple will need space, be it for more memory, processor cores, sensors, battery, or antennae"
Let's do some math:
This new SIM has 12,38,80,67=>75,52mm^3
Since this new SIM is 40% smaller, the old one has a volume of 120,86mm^3
So the extra space is 48,34mm^3
Since the iphone volume is:
This "new space" compared with the iphone volume is:
48,34/62353,15= 0,000775
We are talking about almost 0,08% of the volume of a iphone...
Is this enough for "more memory, processor cores, sensors, battery, or antennae"?

Also why RIM and others were pushing so hard for the noched nano-SIMs, so they could save space by not using that SIM tray that Apple likes to use.

"That's also the likely reason Apple may soon adopt a smaller dock connector port as well -- every millimeter matters."
If that's the case then they should go industry standard and adopt the micro-USB...

At this point we all know the new iPhone will be called the "new iPhone" why are we using the term iPhone 5? When we also kno it's the 6th iPhone... The 3GS to 4 was a logical progression... Just because we have a 4s it's ludicrous to think it would move on to "5".

i do prefer the design by RIM. The current SIM contacts has been around for many years. We're just basically cutting away more plastic areas with each version. It is somewhat fragile as well, i myself have encountered a few malfunctions over the years. The design by RIM and Nokia seems to be similar to micro-sd card, which despite small is still easy to hold without worry of damaging the contacts. Eventually at some point we would have to do a major overhaul to the SIM card, and as it gets smaller and smaller, legacy compatibility would be harder and harder to achieve.
Apple's design has the advantage of being backwards compatible, with a simple plastic adapter. But if RIM and Nokia's version has an adapter too, i don't see why not.
Though what i think probably doesn't matter, so i'm not going to fret over it and let ETSI decide.