By 5 June 2012 | Categories: news


The nano-SIM battle between Apple and its supporters as well as Nokia with its backers has come to an end, as ETSI’s (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s) smart card platform technical committee has agreed on a new SIM card form factor.

During its 55th meeting held recently in Osaka, Japan, this committee adopted the new card design that takes up considerably less space inside a mobile device.

The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design (microSIM) at 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.67 mm, whilst managing to offer the same level of functionality as all current SIM cards. ETSI stated that 4FF cards can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs.

This new form factor was adopted by industry with the involvement of major mobile network operators, smart card suppliers and mobile device manufacturers.

A few companies had put forth design proposals for the new SIM standard with Google-owned Motorola Mobility and BlackBerry maker RIM (Research In Motion) backing Nokia’s proposal, whilst Apple was backed by most of the European mobile operators. The organisation did not state which faction’s proposal it adopted as the new SIM standard, only revealing that this new design will be published at a later stage and be made freely available from its website.

SIM card - an essential security feature of mobile networks

According to ETSI, the SIM card is the most successful smart card application ever created, since it is utilised to securely associate a mobile phone or tablet with a customer account. By doing so, it prevents fraud and ensures that calls and messages are correctly routed to mobile  customers, making this device an essential security component of mobile networks.

SIM cards are integrated into every GSM, UMTS and LTE (4G) mobile device, with more than 25 billion SIM cards and derivatives having been produced thus far, and the telecommunications industry issuing over 4.5 billion SIM cards annually.


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