Apple, Nokia, RIM, and Motorola are fighting over the nanoSIM standard

If you have an iPhone 4/4S or a Lumia 800 then chances are you’ve seen how ridiculously small of a SIM card it uses. That’s called a microSIM card. Back in May of last year, Apple said they wanted to make something even smaller, so they called up the folks who invent standards, in this case the ETSI, and said they want them to create a new nanoSIM standard. How big is a nanoSIM? It’s 15% thinner and has a footprint that’s 30% smaller compared to a microSIM. Last November Giesecke & Devrient showed off a nanoSIM in Paris, and we haven’t heard much about it since. Today though, there’s some news to share. According to the Financial Times, Apple’s proposed nanoSIM standard is facing opposition from the folks at Nokia, RIM, and Motorola. Nokia says that their nanoSIM proposal has “significant technical advantages” compared to Apple’s proposal since it doesn’t require a SIM card tray. Whichever design wins isn’t really important though in the grander scheme of things, and we’ll find out who to crown the victor as early as next week.

The story gets more interesting though. Remember the standards folks we mentioned earlier, ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute)? Apple is trying to increase the number of votes they have in that organization by registering 6 different subsidiaries, each capable of having as many as 45 votes. Just to give you some comparison, Nokia with their 92 votes is the biggest company to take part in ETSI. Why is Apple trying to take control of the standards body? Probably to make them innovate faster, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though it’s easy to see why the incumbents are scared silly.

There’s one question that isn’t getting a lot of attention however, and that’s why we’re still using SIM cards in the first place? Shouldn’t all phones be connected out of the factory and then all we have to do is enter some sort of passcode to put our number onto said device?

  • The SIM card is the only component fully owned and controled by the telco. It’s such a pleasure to play with any number of phone and have the subscription following the SIM card in and out. I’m not seeing myself geting rid of this, and this can only keep the user in a walled garden once again.

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