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Why don’t people know what a SIM card looks like?



AT&T has been stamping out new SIM cards supporting all the current form factors, including micro-SIM. BGR has the best photo I’ve seen, courtesy of the crassamatic soundwave9. I am baffled, however, at the number of bloggers and commenters who don’t seem to know what they’re looking at.

First and foremost, that whole orange card is the SIM card. Yes, I know it’s shocking to think that could be considered mobile, but you need to remember the standard was established back when mobile phones were giant bricks. That blue and white punch out in the shape of what we currently think of as a SIM card is actually mini-SIM. The smaller cut-out within it is micro-SIM. The actual chip used in all three formats is the same size. There are some technical differences between SIM, mini-SIM, and micro-SIM, but size-wise, it’s primarily a matter of the surrounding plastic.

Thus, no one should be shocked to learn that micro-SIM is just a smaller SIM – mini-SIM is also just a smaller SIM. No one should think the move to micro-SIM somehow defies two decades of established standards – mini-SIM “defied” the original SIM standard so successfully that people think it’s the original standard. (Also, micro-SIM was established as a standard in 2003.) Finally, that’s not a SIM adapter – that is what a SIM card looks like. It’s fine if Joe Average doesn’t know all that, but major tech blogs should demonstrate greater knowledge.



  1. Clavain

    04/29/2010 at 8:54 am

    For me the SIM card is that bit I stick into my phone, or modem or whatever. Been at it now for 15 years.


  2. Alan Wilkerson

    04/29/2010 at 11:35 am

    It’s because so many people use Verizon so we don’t have a clue… we only do what the master tells us…


  3. Stuart

    04/29/2010 at 3:08 pm

    Almost all current GSM phones use a mini-sim so having a micro-sim is a big change to the de-facto standard. The “sim” and even the “usim” have been used to make the device independent of the telcom provider. This requires all carriers to order new Gemalto card to accomodate Apple’s change to micro, but it also requires all cell phone owners to get a new subscriber identity module if they want the new phone. If you don’t think it’s a problem then think of the people who don’t even own a phone and just have a SIM and share one phone among a family or with their neighbors. It really makes things much more difficult–needlessly so.

    • Sumocat

      04/29/2010 at 3:39 pm

      micro-SIM is backward compatible, so just don’t pop out the micro-SIM and you’ll be fine. That big card works in phones that use the big SIM card too. Also I don’t think people who share one phone will be lining up for the new iPhone, so they should be okay.

      • Stuart

        04/29/2010 at 6:56 pm

        I know that there are a lot of people who have more than one high end phone and up until now they can just pop the mini sim and put it into any phone. Apple makes that difficult to say the least. No desire to keep with the de-facto standard. It might not be standard custom in the USA to sim swap but lots of people in many countries do it every day.

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