Apple wants smaller SIM cards of their mobile future

Apple has set a standard for new, smaller SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards in an effort to free up more space in future smartphones

Apple's proposal was submitted last week, when (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) ETSI Technical Committee Smart Card Platform met, according to a spokesman. So far no decision has been made on whether to accept the proposal.

If ETSI agrees to accept the proposal from Apple for a new SIM card in miniature as an industry standard, manufacturers could begin producing the devices later this year. But for that to happen, ETSI members, including industry and government representatives, must agree on technical details. If not is not the case, it will take longer, ETSI, he said.

There are so many different things going on smartphones today, so anything can be done to save space is a good thing, according to Carolina Milanesi, Gartner research vice president.

Part of the motivation behind Apple's new SIM card could prove that the company can participate in the development of standards in the mobile telephony market, not only do everything for themselves, he said.

The decrease will result in SIM card compatibility issues. However, traders may decide that the jackets that allow the smaller card to be used on older phones, Milanesi said.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

Apple is not the only one working on next-generation SIM cards. The operators are, for example, planning to put NFC (Near Field Communication) in the cards. Having NFC SIM card instead of integrated into the phone will be easier for people to keep their mobile wallet when purchasing a new phone, according to Orange.

Last year, a group of operators and vendors led by industry organization GSM Association (GSMA) has announced a working group to look at how the integrated SIM card in other mobile devices can be programmed and remotely activated .

The goal is to make it easier to bring mobile broadband products beyond phones and laptops, such as cameras, media players, navigation devices, e-readers and smart meters, according to the GSMA. Devices with the new SIM activation capacity is expected to appear in 2012.

In February, the GSMA, said the working group had completed the requirements of the market and presented the results of their analysis to ETSI.

The SIM card is still an untapped resource, and may be more intelligent, according to Milanesi. But more features to SIM card also offers operators more control, he said.


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