back to article Report: Nokia, Apple battle over ultra-tiny nano-SIMs

Nokia is reportedly fighting the Apple-based proposal for a nano-SIM with designs of its own, aimed at preventing Cupertino scooping the patent fees which come with ratification. Despite repeated enquiries, Nokia has failed to provide any confirmation or denial of the Financial Times's report (behind paywall) that Nokia – …


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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge


    It was had enough getting the damn micro sim into my iPad. Am I going to have to use tweezers for the next one.

    Just stop ok. a micro sim is plenty small enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      tooooo late

      Already patented by THEM and the sim is so small that it would be part of the manufacturing costs and non removable.

      1. Peladon

        Re: tooooo late

        So, in essence, it's, like, teeny-tiny RAM you can't get out if it fails then?

        And I wanted this, um, because?

        No. Not shooting at the poster. The poster's post was informative. Just informative enough to make me wonder what the point of the 'product' is intended to be. Sigh.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ammo against samsung? Errm... no.

    Apple stated publicly that they won't use FRAND patents in an aggressive way like samsung + motorola are doing. So they'd only use patents for this in retaliation to FRAND abuse - and presumably only if samsung were actually using the patented tech, which as the standard isn't even agreed yet has to be some way into the future.

    Besides, the abuse of FRAND patents isn't exactly going well for sammy + motorola. The EU are investigating samsung for anti-trust because of it, motorola must be high on the watch list, and the courts haven't (on the whole) taken it well either. The whole thing might end up being a massive own-goal.

    1. g e

      Re: Ammo against samsung? Errm... no.

      Which of course, is fine to spout if you have none to license... do they have any?

      I promise not to stab you in the back with the knife I don't have.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ammo against samsung? Errm... no.

        Yes Apple has FRAND patents, and quite a few in fact.

        Check the ETSI patent disclosure database.

  3. Darryl

    So we need a really really small sim that we'll have to insert into a caddy to make it bigger so that it can be inserted into the phone. And this will be better than regular size sims how?

  4. James Cooke

    Prior art?

    There must be dozens of examples of prior art for the use of a caddy. I'm sure my very old Treo 650 used a caddy for the SIM for instance to allow it to be top loading.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Prior art?

      At least within the electronics industry, I *think* there's also prior art for "making shit smaller". Even if there isn't, it surely falls within the category of "obvious". Why not just agree to shrink the existing standard to a published set of dimensions and be done with?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prior art?

        What is this? Funny bits for "Prior art amateur hour"?

        Of course a method of reducing the electronics, conections and carrier in a SIM card is not "a caddy"

        and neither is there a universal method for "making shit smaller" (that still works)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Prior art?

          A universal method for "making shit smaller"

          Eat less?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Prior art?

            Makes no difference. Still lots shit around.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: universal method

          I really doubt that the limiting size on current SIMs is the microelectronics. Therefore, there *is* a universal method for making SIMs smaller. However, it is the fairly obvious and non-novel one of putting the electronics onto a smaller package.

          Even if it *was* the limiting factor when current SIMs were designed, such things *have* (as is generally known in this forum, you must be *really* new to IT) shrunk at a fairly predictable rate over the years and so it would not be the limiting factor now.

          Go and troll somewhere else.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many questions

    Are there really any patents on this?

    Weren't the nanoSIMs developed by Giesecke & Devrient?

    Why isn't there any information on Nokia's alternative format?

  6. dogged

    You're behind the curve, Bill

    The Verge have this -

    Link to full report

    " Apple's proposal does not meet all of the pre-agreed requirements for ETSI's planned 4FF standard (the so-called nano SIM). The proposal from Nokia, RIM and Motorola does.

    Nokia believes that our proposal has features which would make it easier for consumers to insert and remove the SIM without damage. Additionally, our proposed SIM has different dimensions from a micro SIM, one of ETSI's requirements, which would avoid it getting stuck if inserted by mistake into a phone with a micro SIM slot. Apple's proposed card is the same length as the width of current micro SIMs and so would risk jamming, leading to card and product damage.

    We also feel that our proposal allows for more design options for the type of card reader, i.e. how the SIM is inserted into the device, to allow for a wider range of device form factors. Requiring a tray or SIM carrier would reduce design options and increase manufacturing cost, perhaps not significant for high end smartphones but it would be for lower cost devices.

    The combination of our proposed card and the associated mechanics are smaller than those for a current micro SIM, allowing further miniaturization in devices. Though Apple's proposed card is smaller than current micro SIMs, when combined with the associated mechanics needed in the phone, we don't believe it represents a significant reduction in size. We believe that in practice it would mean it was just different from micro SIM, rather than smaller, which could be a barrier to broad adoption as an alternative to micro SIM, potentially leading to fragmentation.

    In summary, Nokia believes that our proposed nano SIM would be easier for consumers to handle, enable a wider range of device designs and offer a true difference from the existing options with micro SIM. We look forward to continuing the discussions in more detail with our counterparts in ETSI."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You're behind the curve, Bill

      But The Verge also says:

      "Does The Verge have a full comparison between each proposal?

      No, the documentation is under lock and key and only available to ETSI members like Apple and Nokia. We should know more as soon as next week."

      1. dogged

        Re: You're behind the curve, Bill

        True, but the information that this counter-proposal is being made by Nokia, RIM and Motorola lends it a great deal more weight than the Apple-spoiler suggested in the Reg's article.

        Also, here we see a Nokia spokesman confirm it, which is more than Bill had.

    2. Ralph B

      > Apple's proposed card is the same length as the width of current micro SIMs

      Good grief, so they're really just making it thinner? WTF? Do we really need to be worrying about slimming down by fractions of a millimetre when we don't even have batteries that last through a day?

  7. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Just get rid of SIMs and SIM locks full stop.

    1. Nuno

      That would be foolish

      SIMs are great, in the way that you can insert it in whatever phone you want and access your phone service. If Apple had it their way, a software SIM, if your phone dies (battery, water, whatever), what would you need to do to access your phone service?

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: That would be foolish

        Oh that's easy, all your "SIM" details will be live duplicated* on the 100% secure cloud so if your iPhone fails or is stolen or the battery explodes you can copy the details into your new iPhone (service incompatible with other vendors equipment - after all once you've used an iPhone you'll never want anything else)

        *Users liable for all data charges when copying data to "Cloud SIM" service.

    2. Christian Berger

      Getting rid of SIMs would mean that your operator could decide which devices you could use on its network. That would mean that you wouldn't be able to get any useful device since, for example the operators wouldn't allow VPNs or instant messaging. Devices would be reduced to stupid pay-terminals.

      SIM-locks are actually an example what happens if you give even the slightest bit of control over to the network operators. Getting rid of the SIM would be like every device having a SIM lock, plus you cannot get any device without it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good reason for physical SIM?

      In that it might be possible for a Software SIM to be stolen (like credit card number and PIN) and used for nefarious purposes (eg racking up calls on a premium rate line)

  8. g e

    "require users to be able handle the nano-SIM with alacrity"

    Which surely a nano SIM defies by definition?

    Having a caddy probably defeats the object of having a nano sized SIM, too, doesn't it...

  9. chr0m4t1c


    >Standards groups are increasingly forums within which companies push the technology they own rather than the best solution to the problem.

    "Standards groups have always been forums within which companies push the technology they own rather than the best solution to the problem."

    There, I fixed that for you.

  10. DrXym Silver badge

    Dump sims altogether

    What does a SIM provide which couldn't be done in software?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dump sims altogether

      A physical way to move any phone over to any provider you choose. If this is done in software then most likely you will only be able to switch between whichever operators have come to a deal with the manufacturer of the phone

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dump sims altogether

        Yes you could, though that would need telco's that allow you to switch in a instant. SIM's have a bigger function than just provisioning a phone and allow the user a extra level of choice/flexability akin to having a lock with a physical key, albiet that they leave said key in the lock. When you look at the World picture of mobiles and roaming, then why oh why would anybody give up the option to avoid getting fiscally raped by giving up the easy option of popping in a local PAYG SIM and the ability to pop in there main SIM once they touch back down. How are dual-SIM phones catered for!

        so SIMless phones are ok IMHO as long as the phone itself holds 5 virtual SIM's you can pick and choice, then that would be something that no consumer will complain about and actualy be easier and useful without losing that extra functionality of instant choice. For example I could provision one with my work number, one with my personal SIM/number and another with a PAYG SIM I use when in Germany or werever. You start to see how this could be useful if done right, until then I prefer my SIM's as I somehow don't trust the mobile manufacturers to have my best interests at heart over the network operators.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Dump sims altogether

          Just because a phone uses a SIM doesn't mean it'll recognize every SIM. Some Tracfones use SIMs but will only recognize Tracfone/Net10 SIMs, so they're useless for transportability. Similarly, Nextel phones used SIMS but of a different physical dimension--it wouldn't recognize any other SIM since Nextel used a different network standard from GSM.

          Given that, barring laws already in the books, what's to stop a phone manufacturer from simply making a phone that only recognizes certain brands of SIMs? And in such an environment, what function would a SIM serve that couldn't be served as well with a "soft" SIM where the IMEI or whatever was manually entered or decoded from barcode by the now-ubiquitous camera?

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Dump sims altogether

        "A physical way to move any phone over to any provider you choose. If this is done in software then most likely you will only be able to switch between whichever operators have come to a deal with the manufacturer of the phone"

        And how would software prevent a phone from being moved from one network to another. You assume it has to lock you into one when it doesn't.

        The phone could have a database of network providers and you pick one from a list. Or you point the camera at a QC code representing the network data and it sets the network from that.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Great a smaller SIM - just what everybody not wanted

    I realy don't need a smaller SIM form factor and given it's size and the device it's plugged into, I'd say that if they are that desperate for space in a device then they are doing alot of things wrong.

    Way it's going then how much longer will it be until you pop small pills into your phone to talk to people!

  12. lumpaywk

    did anyone else notice the epic FAIL in all this??? they want to make the sim smaller to save space but the smaller sims require a caddy to be used thus making them just as big again as the old sim. Its like my lumia 800 has a "micro sim" but to put it in you have to use a tray thats bigger than an old sim. This is all about winning patents to get lisencing rights and as always Apple will win.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good idea if one wants to build a flea collar with GPS and GSM to keep pets from getting lost. Nothing wrong with the full sized sim in my phone.

    1. stucs201

      You still have a phone with a full size sim? Not seen one for years! A full-size sim is credit card sized... You're probably thinking mini-sim.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    France Telecom and Orange

    Aren't those just one company?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why do bigger phones and tablets require a smaller SIM anyway ?

    Besides, the last time I looked the distance between my ear and my gob was still the same.

  16. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Why a tiny SIM?

    Maybe Apple have something in the pipeline, like a ring or piece of jewellery that holds a tiny SIM. Any phone or tablet you pick up becomes 'yours' for the purpose of making a call or checking email. Your contact list, your billing info.

    Such a product would give them a use for that 'liquid metal' they hold the exclusive rights to!

    1. Sureo

      Re: Why a tiny SIM?

      Why to implant in your brain of course. Isn't that handy?

  17. Andus McCoatover

    Nokia patents...larf-a-minute!

    Mate of mine at Nokia wrote a few, he got about £300 a pop. (year 1998)

    I came up with one, and the boss told me to patent it. When I looked at all the horrendous paperwork, (which I'd have to do in my spare time (go figure!), it simply wasn't worth the effort.

    It was a 'blocking patent' - to prevent other manufacturers from using it. £300 for a few weekend's work, with no guarantee of success? Fuc*k that, I'm taking the missus to Cyprus for a couple of weeks.

  18. Julian 3

    At the end of the day....

    At the end of the day Apple will do whatever they want even if ETSI don't approve.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely they mean ETSY - the only place you'll be able to buy Nokia phones in a couple of years' time.

  20. Richard Cartledge

    They should do away with the SIM card, it's a waste of precious space.

    Surely a code or a certificate file could be loaded into the device instead?

    This would also allow for much tinier devices to operate on mobile networks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How are they going to be "tinier" in size? The batter is at least 20 times the volume of the SIM. Getting rid of it will not free up much space.

      Are they really making smaller phones? Seems to me they are making them with bigger and bigger screens.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    * DRAWER

    As in, 'a chest of drawers'.

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