ETSI Announces New Nano-SIM Standard; 40% Smaller Than Micro-SIM

BY Jason

Published 1 Jun 2012

The Verge reports that European Telecommunications Institute (ETSI) has announced the new nano-SIM standard which was hotly contested by Apple and its competitors.

The new nano-SIM will be 40% smaller than the micro-SIM format used in mobile phones like Apple’s iPhone.

Here’s an excerpt from ETSI’s announcement:

Today’s SIM card designs take up a significant amount of space inside a mobile device. This space is more and more valuable in today’s handsets which deliver an ever increasing number of features.

The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.

Over the past few months, phone manufacturers and carriers have been working with standard governing bodies to draft the design of the nano-SIM card.

During the designing process, there was a stand off amongst Apple and a joint group of Nokia, Motorola and RIM over the design of the SIMApple even offered to license the patents involved in its design royalty free to reduce the opposition to the design.

Finally, RIM and Motorola submitted an updated proposal for a nano-SIM card format couple of weeks back, which derives 80 percent of its design from Apple’s draft.

It’s not clear if ETSI has selected Apple’s nano-SIM format or the updated proposal that RIM and Motorola had submitted as bot have the same exterior dimensions. RIM had added a notch on one edge to enable “push-push” mechanisms for storing the nano-SIM in devices — push it into a slot to secure it, push it again to pop it out, which didn’t require a SIM tray that was proposed by Apple.

The Verge reports that ETSI refused to comment:

“We don’t communicate the specific details of how the decision was arrived at or which proposal was chosen. We now have an ETSI standardized format for 4FF. It’s no longer a question of one company or another, the industry has collectively made a decision.”

So we’ll have to wait for ETSI to publish the specs to figure out which design was chosen. If Apple’s nano-SIM format was chosen then we won’t be surprised if Apple introduces it in the next generation iPhone.