History of the SIM Card

December 8, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ News

History Of the SIM Card

The history of the SIM card is closely related to the history of the GSM mobile network. GSM is an acronym for the Global System for Mobile Communications, a set of protocols designed to provide interface between second generation wireless telephones. The GSM network was first proposed in the early 1980s, and development began in 1982. In 1987, the European Union passed legislation to mandate the GSM standard throughout Europe. Once the standard became ubiquitous, mobile telephone users were guaranteed compatibility with other European users. The GSM still serves approximately 80 percent of the global wireless market and is used in at least 212 countries and territories.

The first SIM card was created in 1991, and these devices quickly became a crucial part of GSM networks. The cards are based on integrated circuits called subscriber identity modules, hence the name SIM. These modules store information required for authentication, allowing the user’s phone to attach to a GSM network. Each card has a serial number as well as network information, and users can remove the card from one phone and install it in a new one without registering the device.

The ability of users to switch their data to new mobile devices is advantageous in many ways. If a subscriber’s phone runs out of batteries, he or she can install the SIM card into a friend’s phone while still using the minutes attached to the card’s wireless plan. SIM cards can also store authentication information for up to 80 networks, allowing users to take advantage of the best networks available when traveling.

The first SIM cards were about the size of a credit card, but they shrank over time to the size of a postage stamp. SIM cards also developed increasingly advanced functions and storage abilities. Modern cards are able to store information such as contact lists, user locations and phone numbers, text messages, patches, and settings. They also store applications and allow users to access them from any phone.

SIM Card Sizes

SIM Card Sizes

Nano-SIMs, which are about 15 percent smaller than their predecessors, were introduced in early 2012. Nano-SIMs are used for all iPhone 5 models as well as cellular-capable iPad minis. Despite their small size, these cards can store as much data as larger cards. Many mobile phone providers are also offering virtual SIMs. Virtual SIMs are phone numbers that allow users to connect their mobile phones to other devices without the use of a physical card. Other innovations include sophisticated embedded SIMs that can be attached directly to circuit boards.

We came across this video and thought it might be helpful if you are upgrading a device soon, it discusses SIM to Micro/Nano SIM conversion required for the latest devices: ***Ensure you check with your carrier to see if this is an approved method, if you have any concern with the described task please consult your local service provider store, we wouldn’t want to have anyone damage their phone/device on accident.  Here is the template he uses in the video.


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