A new, smaller SIM card, dubbed nano-SIM, will free up room for additional memory and larger batteries, helping phone vendors create thinner devices, German company Giesecke & Devrient said on Friday.
According to Giesecke & Devrient, measuring approximately 12mm by 9mm, the nano-SIM is about 30% smaller than the micro-SIM and thickness of the cards has been reduced by about 15%. The new nano-SIM is approximately 60% smaller than traditional-size SIM cards, which are still used by a majority of phones, the company said.
Giesecke & Devrient expects to first phones to use the nano-SIM will arrive as soon as next year, it said. Using adapters, the card format will be backward-compatible.
The company has shipped initial samples to mobile network operators for testing. The standardisation of the nano-SIM is expected to be implemented through ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) by the end of the year.
Apple, which already uses the micro-SIM, has been involved in developing the new form factor, the company said. In May, the company filed a proposal for a smaller card. “There are so many different things that go into today’s smartphones, so anything that can be done to save space is a good thing,” Carolina Milanesi, research VP at Gartner, said at the time.
Last week, Apple’s future plans for the SIM also made the news when a patent application for a virtual card surfaced. A SIM card slot in user devices tends to make devices bulky and add cost, and users may also want to buy wireless services when they can’t easily obtain a physical SIM card, according to the application.
“It is just a matter of time before virtual SIMs take over”, according to Malik Saadi , principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “For operators, it will be a mixed blessing. They will lose some of the control physical SIM card affords them, but at the same time new opportunities in, for example, the machine-to-machine sector will come,” he said.
In the meantime, Giesecke & Devrient will be showcasing the new form factor at the Cartes & Identification 2011 trade show, which takes place Tuesday to Thursday in Paris.