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Apr 12, 2001
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Following on Apple's proposed standard for smaller SIM cards, a German company has proposed its own standard. Giesecke & Devrient, the company that developed the world's first SIM card, has proposed the so-called "nano-SIM" as a card one-third smaller and 15 percent thinner than the current smallest card, the micro-SIM, that's used in the iPhone 4 and 4S and both generations of 3G iPad.

Apple has expressed a distinct interest in reducing the size of or eliminating SIM cards entirely, moves which would save space to allow Apple to either further shrink its devices or make room for other new or larger components. Late last year, Apple was said to have worked with Gemalto to develop a built-in SIM card which would use a chip to store subscriber information. But while the GSM Association and several carriers appeared to be in support of Apple's idea, other carriers threatened to withhold iPhone subsidies if Apple moved forward with the plan, objections that reportedly led to Apple scrapping the soft-SIM idea, at least for the time being.

With carriers nixing the idea of SIM card-less GSM phones, Apple apparently refocused its efforts on shrinking the size of the card further than the current micro-SIM size. Those efforts led to Apple's proposal for the new SIM card standard, which has been under review by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and has the support of a number of carriers.

simcards.jpg



According to today's report, G&D has submitted its design to the ETSI, the standards organization behind the three standard sizes of SIM cards (full-size, mini-SIM, and micro-SIM), illustrated above. It is unclear, however, whether the nano-SIM design discussed in today's report is related to Apple's proposed design. Regardless, ETSI reportedly hopes to have the new nano-SIM format standardized by the end of this year, and an adapter will exist to make the new SIM backwards-compatible with older devices.

(Image via Flickr/William Hook)

Article Link: Smaller SIM Card Standard Could Be Ready Next Year
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
I really hope the proposal is rejected.

Apple reason for the new standard is to make it more difficult to jump between devices.
 

aristotle

macrumors 68000
Mar 13, 2007
1,768
5
Canada
Do we still need Sim cards? Couldn't the users information be sent right into the phone itself once its been activated by them?

Yes, we need SIM cards, otherwise you lose the ability to swap them out for local ones when you travel or to by an unlocked phone and choose an unofficial carrier.

If you don't care about travelling or having freedom to choose, go right ahead and stick with your carrier's roaming plan but don't seek to deny the rest of us freedom to choose.

I don't want to see a return to CDMA style phones that are programmed for one carrier.
 

AAPLaday

Guest
Aug 6, 2008
2,411
2
Manchester UK
Yes, we need SIM cards, otherwise you lose the ability to swap them out for local ones when you travel or to by an unlocked phone and choose an unofficial carrier.

If you don't care about travelling or having freedom to choose, go right ahead and stick with your carrier's roaming plan but don't seek to deny the rest of us freedom to choose.

I don't want to see a return to CDMA style phones that are programmed for one carrier.

Im not from the US but if we have pentaband phones why do we need a simcard for each network. Surely theres a better way than having several simcards. Similar to roaming works now, but better
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,701
2,268
Yes, we need SIM cards, otherwise you lose the ability to swap them out for local ones when you travel or to by an unlocked phone and choose an unofficial carrier.

If you don't care about travelling or having freedom to choose, go right ahead and stick with your carrier's roaming plan but don't seek to deny the rest of us freedom to choose.

I don't want to see a return to CDMA style phones that are programmed for one carrier.

Then how do you log into different email accounts from the same device, or the same account from different devices? Why can't phone accounts be the same? If you go abroad, you'd simply buy a username + password, type it into your phone, and there you go, no need for a stupid SIM. As for locking phones, carriers could still lock devices and prevent the use of an account other than the one authorized.

SIM cards are ancient technology and they are pointless. Their only use is to annoy the hell out of you at airports, when you have to remove the phone's battery to swap out the SIM, resulting in the phone forgetting the date, the time and the time zone, and requiring you to reset all that each and every single time you swap your SIM card out. True, the iPhone doesn't have that limitation, but SIM cards are still pointless.
 

gorjan

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2009
356
0
CPH
...resulting in the phone forgetting the date, the time and the time zone, and requiring you to reset all that each and every single time you swap your SIM card out...

What old school **** phone are you using? My mobile phones for the last 10+ years have remembered date and time for at least some time after removing the battery.
 

selore

macrumors newbie
Nov 11, 2011
5
2
Then how do you log into different email accounts from the same device, or the same account from different devices? Why can't phone accounts be the same? If you go abroad, you'd simply buy a username + password, type it into your phone, and there you go, no need for a stupid SIM. As for locking phones, carriers could still lock devices and prevent the use of an account other than the one authorized.

SIM cards are ancient technology and they are pointless. Their only use is to annoy the hell out of you at airports, when you have to remove the phone's battery to swap out the SIM, resulting in the phone forgetting the date, the time and the time zone, and requiring you to reset all that each and every single time you swap your SIM card out. True, the iPhone doesn't have that limitation, but SIM cards are still pointless.

that's not true. a sim card hosts a chip that can be interrogated and gives trustful answers never revealing the inner secret key. it's the only way to phisically hold an identity. you can decide to swap such identity among several devices and be always confident no one -NOT EVEN THE DEVICE ITSELF- will ever steal it unless they grab it from your own hands. a password wouldn't be as reliable. sim card is something used in so many domains...it will never be ancient. when we talk about sim card we are not talking about a piece of hardware but an ideal solution to a problem. you may change the name and the shape...but that's THE solution
 
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FotoDirk

macrumors member
Apr 5, 2010
54
0
Indeed we have sim cards for security. With this SIM you can identify yourself to the network and the SIM will identify the network for you. SIMs are already in use for 20 years and nobody managed yet to crack it. That same SIM is also used to encrypt your conversations over the air to prevent eavesdropping.

A simple userid/pw is to easy for hackers to break. Every service on the internet has had uninvited guests stealing information or even draining accounts from victims.

A SIM has some mathematical algorithms implemented and then some secret key the operator is setting for you. The SIM cannot reveal that algorithm nor that key. The processor in the SIM can only use the algorithm and the key.

The operator knows these 2 things from you. And the network will generate a random number. Then both the network and your SIM will use the algorithm and the secret key to generate a signed-response and a encryption key. When both have generated the same response than the network knows who you are. Both now also have the same encryption key.

The process is like:
SIM/phone: Sends SIM-card number (or temporarily SIM card number)
Network: Sends random number
SIM/Phone: Replies with the Signed-response
From then on the interface is encoded with the encryption key.
Network: Sends a new temporarily SIM card number to the SIM/phone (encrypted so nobody can know your number).

The next time you have to identify you, the phone will first try to get connection with the temporarily SIM card number. As the original SIM number could identify the caller and needs to be send unencrypted over the air. So even when you listen in on all base-stations of the network/world, then even you would not be able to tell who is making a network connection as this temporarily-sim-card number cannot be matched with a person, phone or SIM.

Criminals cannot get the info out the SIM. Not even when they can get their hands on it. They cannot copy your SIM, nor read it. You can only feed it with random numbers. Hackers could hack the database at the operator side. But as soon as that happens then the operator has to change the algorithm/key and provide new SIMs to all persons that have been exposed.
 

cube

Suspended
May 10, 2004
17,011
4,970
We don't need anything smaller than standard SIM cards. Screens are getting bigger.
 

canucksfan88

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2007
560
63
great...can we not just have one standard sim. thanks to apple we moved away from the standard sim to the micro-sim....now we have the possible nano ones popping up...

just make the micro-sim the standard.
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,402
2,518
Florida, U.S.A.
As a phone user, SIM Cards are a good thing to have.

Just think about it and you'll figure out why:

You can switch phones easily by moving your SIM Card to another phone. Your Plan travels with it. Otherwise, you'll need to call your carrier and give them certain information so they could update their system and give you access back. A total pain, specially if they decide to charge you a setup fee (or extend or modify your contract) every time you switch phones.

Making SIM Cards smaller makes sense, as the card itself may seem small, but the socket where it plugs in takes a lot of valuable space inside a phone.
 

cube

Suspended
May 10, 2004
17,011
4,970
great...can we not just have one standard sim. thanks to apple we moved away from the standard sim to the micro-sim....now we have the possible nano ones popping up...

just make the micro-sim the standard.

Negative. Micro SIM is a rarity. Apple should use the standard size.
 

2 Replies

macrumors regular
Apr 26, 2010
180
0
What's a sim card?

We should all strive to not be lazy. Learn to use a search engine.
You have no excuse for posing such an inane question.


We don't need anything smaller than standard SIM cards. Screens are getting bigger.

That's quite a shortsighted view.
Yes screens are getting bigger, but that also means that the screen is using more internal space inside the whole phone. And remember, the screen (and its video hardware) and a SIM card are not the only internal hardware.

Any improvement that reduces the size of arbitrary internal components will be very helpful.
It means more space for other components, like a larger battery (=longer battery life), additional radios or sensors, or other new components.

Negative. Micro SIM is a rarity. Apple should use the standard size.
No they shouldn't (if by 'standard', you mean most popular...mini-SIM size).
As it is Apple has to creatively engineer/organize all the components to fit them all in.
(For the rest of my reply, see the paragraph immediately above your quote, starting with "Any improvement".)
 
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tbrinkma

macrumors 68000
Apr 24, 2006
1,651
93
We don't need anything smaller than standard SIM cards. Screens are getting bigger.
Negative. Micro SIM is a rarity. Apple should use the standard size.

Do you mean the original, full-size SIM card standard (credit-card sized), the mini-SIM standard (most phones) or the more recent micro-SIM standard (iPhone 4 and some other newer phones)? If the proposed nano-SIM standard is one that the various carriers seem to like (or at least have no issue with), so why not move forward with the smaller size?

The beauty of the SIM card standards (so far) are that you can make a single full-sized SIM card with the ability to have staggered punch-outs for the various smaller sizes. (All using the same inner circuitry and external contacts.) The worst that happens is you need an adapter that can be made by hand for less than $1 if it doesn't come with your phone or SIM.
 

something3153

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2011
404
0
Have any devices even adopted the micro-sim yet besides iOS devices?

The Nokia Lumia 800 does; due to drop on Wednesday.

----------

What old school **** phone are you using? My mobile phones for the last 10+ years have remembered date and time for at least some time after removing the battery.

Not to mention, every cell I've ever used would get the date, time, and time zone from the towers. Turn the phone off after landing and it shows everything correctly. That was an odd post...
 

MrNomNoms

macrumors 65816
Jan 25, 2011
1,130
249
Wellington, New Zealand
Man, we're really behind. Here in New Zealand Telecom (our main carrier) only switched from CDMA to SIM 1-2 years ago!

Actually the largest wireless carrier in New Zealand is Vodafone which before it was bought out was known as 'Bell South' (anyone remember the 'ringing the bell to bring people together' ad that was run over a decade ago?). Telecom NZ went with CDMA because it was hoping to piggy back on bulk handset purchases by having an arrangement with Sprint which is the same reason why Telecom NZ went with the 850/2100 combination since Telstra Australia and AT&T both use it (thus can piggyback on their handset purchase to reduce the cost to them an NZ consumers - our sales are so low in NZ it is very difficult to get handsets into NZ because for many handset vendors it isn't worth the trouble).

As for Telecom moving from CDMA to W-CDMA/UTMS/GSM - the migration was a lot faster than what is taking place in the United States and even faster than the switch off that took place in Australia (there was a senate inquiry to ensure that the new network had equal or better coverage than the old network for rural customers). One also has to keep in mind that when the network was migrated from analogue to digital CDMA2000 was THE technology to use and for a short while it had the technology lead over the alternatives but now things have changed. For CDMA carriers the migration path into the future is LTE but in the case of New Zealand both Telecom and Vodafone are waiting for the analogue television signals to cease so that new lower frequency spectrum can be opened up for LTE deployments - the preferable frequency being in the 700mhz neighbourhood which gives great coverage and lower capital costs. Side topic though in Russia there is CDMA 450Mhz deployments that have a huge coverage area for a country that is sparsely populated.

What amuses me is this cultural cringe in New Zealand that some how we're 'behind the technology curve' ignoring the fact that having been to many countries I can tell you in many situations we're well ahead of Australia, UK or the United States when it comes to technology adoption.
 
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thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,523
There is no reason the eSIM, no physical card, cannot be implemented in a way that phone number and account information is under the control of the phones owner, not the carrier. You should be able to use multiple numbers from multiple carriers in your eSIM phone with complete security.

The physical card can be replaced. No reason to go to another size standard first.
 
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