Nano-SIM war: The new Standard
This week is going to an important week for phone manufactures and mobile operators since they will decide which SIM will become the new standard. The proposed nano-SIM of Apple could become the new standard, since it is still compatible with older devices. Nokia’s nano-SIM is not compatible with current devices, but solves other problems.The Verge claims that Apple’s nano-SIM card can be used with an adapter, which makes it fit in all current devices. ETSI, a European standardization organization of manufacturers and mobile operators will have to make a decision later this week.
Apple’s design is actually a micro-SIM card without any plastic at the edges. It has the electrical connections on the same traditional points, this also makes it compatible with older devices because you will simply only need an adapter. However, Nokia claims that it does not meet the criteria. Because the nano-SIM is as long as the micro-SIM is wide, users could place it in a phone with a micro-SIM slot. If this happens, it will be difficult to remove the SIM card from the device. A new SIM card standard should no longer cause problems like these.
Nokia’s design is not compatible with current micro-SIM. The connectors are in a different position, and it also doesn’t need a special adapter to keep it in place, thanks to a notch in the design it can be easily removed. The design is also slightly smaller than the one of Apple. BlackBerry-maker RIM created its own design, but dropped it to support Nokia’s SIM card design. This way Apple would have less chance to win.
Apple will be offering their nano-SIM design for free to manufactures and mobile operators. It is currently unclear whether Nokia will do this as well.
The current micro-SIM card that is being used by Apple, Nokia, HTC, Sony and Motorola, was named as a standard in 2003. The traditional SIM card, which is actually named mini-SIM card, has been a standard since the early 90’s.
Apple offers nano-SIM card technology for free however Nokia says that it won’t license patents if Apple’s nano-SIM will become the standard
When the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) will choose for Apple’s nano-SIM card as the new standard, then Nokia will refuse to grant Apple licenses for certain patents that are needed for the new SIM. This news was announced by Nokia today. Without the licenses of Nokia, Apple will not be able to use the new nano-SIM card. Nokia claims that Apple is exploiting the approval process of ETSI.
Henry Tirri, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Nokia, says that Apple is abusing the approval process of ETSI to push their nano-SIM as the new standard. According to Nokia, the Apple nano-SIM doesn’t even meet the technical requirements that were set by ETSI. Nokia calls on members of the ETSI to not go with Apple’s proposal, but look at what’s good for the current telecom market. The Financial Times previously claimed that Apple has had numerous conversations with subsidiaries of ETSI.
Nokia could refuse to grant licenses on patents that are needed for the Apple nano-SIM, and this will make it even harder for Apple to become the new standard. Various reports claim that Nokia owns various SIM card patents that are required for the new nano-SIM card of Apple.
Apple announced that other smartphone manufacturers will be able to use the nano-SIM for free, if the ETSI decides that it will become the new standard. A decision is expected later this week however if the implementation of Apple’s nano-SIM card tray will become the new standard this week, other manufacturers will be able to make use of this technology for free. Mobile operators and phone manufacturers will this week vote about the new SIM-card standard.
The nano-SIM implementation of Apple is one of the technologies that could possibly be the successor of the current SIM and micro-SIM cards. Only a few days before the final decision, a letter from Apple to the ETSI leaked, which proved that Apple would offer the nano-SIM technology free or charge to other smartphone manufacturers.
Nano-SIM should not only be a third smaller than the current SIM cards, but also thinner. This would help phone manufactures to make their device lighter, smaller and better, because there will simply be more room for chips or other hardware features.
At the moment is it unclear why Apple is pushing so hard for the nano-SIM to become the standard. The iPhone manufacturer is currently battling companies such as Samsung, HTC, and Motorola for the violating of patent licenses.
Besides the proposal of Apple there is also a consortium of other companies led by Nokia, which is in the race to become the new SIM-card standard. ETSI will this this week make the final decision about which technology is going to be the standard. Last week, it became clear that Apple was already trying to buy votes by setting up a number of subsidiaries in order to win the race.