3G Micro SIM

I guess the biggest question in everyone’s mind when they woke up this morning is “What the heck is a 3G Micro SIM?” I was going “huh?!?!” when Steve Jobs announces that their new Tablet, the iPad, will have a 3G option which uses 3G Micro SIM. Something tells me that my Singtel BroadBand on Mobile SIM card and the phone SIM card will not be compatible with the new iPad.

The 3G Micro SIM is different from the SIM card we are using now. It’s 1.2 x 1.5 cm and about 52% smaller. The Micro SIM is also called the 3rd Form Factor (3FF) SIM card. The first form factor was the credit size SIM card. (I still remember my dad’s first handphone was using that) The 2nd form factor is the standard SIM card that we are using currently.

The biggest question in my mind now is why would Apple choose to use the Micro SIM instead of the normal 2FF SIM which everyone has? The only advantage that I can see on the Micro SIM is the size. But the iPad is so big, it doesn’t need to save on that few centimeters. I would understand if Apple choose to adopt this new standard on their iPhone. But why on the iPad? You will most likely have upgraded to the next generation iPad before the Micro SIM becomes an industry standard. (That is, IF it becomes a standard to begin with) The only sense I see in adopting Micro SIM is so that people will subscribe another data line from the Telcos. Other than that, I see no benefits in using the 3G Micro SIM for iPad.

So who carries the 3G Micro SIM in Singapore? Currently, it seems like none of the 3 local telcos have it yet. But don’t worry. You can be sure that they will stock up on 3G Micro SIM within 90 days to be ready for the iPad’s arrival.

PS: I was reading back at my yesterday’s post on the Apple Tablet. Wow, I’m so off the mark. And seriously? It’s going to be called the iPad? Really? Apple iPad? Then what is going to happen to HP iPaq?

16 Responses to '3G Micro SIM'

  1. CK says:

    You are assuming that iPad will be available from all 3 Singapore Telco. What is preventing Apple Singapore to sign another exclusive deal with Singtel for the iPad?

    For all you know, Apple might have already informed its preferred partner to stock up on these 3FF SIMs leaving no stock for the rest of the telcos to order.

    This 3FF SIM is really evil. It enables the telco to ensure that the broadband package they sell to you can only be used on the iPad and nothing else, since this is the only device in the market supporting it. This means you can just take the SIM card and pop it into a USB modem or a phone to tether.

    All this about an “unlocked” device is hypocrisy to the max.

  2. CK says:

    Oops. I meant “_can’t_ just take the SIM card and pop it into a USB modem or a phone to tether.”

    Not going to stay up late for Apple’s announcements again.

  3. dk says:

    CK: I don’t think it will be exclusive to any of the Telcos here in Singapore. Doesn’t make sense when there is a non-3G version.

    It’s a matter of time before USB modem starts having Micro SIM version. The question is how long? And in the meantime, everyone will have to get another SIM card + data plan just for this because their existing 3G Data SIM can’t work with it. Let’s hope the multi-SIM plan have a Micro SIM option.

    It seems to me that the decision to adopt Micro SIM is more for commercial reasons.

  4. CK says:

    I wonder whether there will be a micro-SIM adapter much like the microSD card adapter which we can use to plug the microSD card into a regular SD card slot. That will solve a lot of problems.

  5. Kenny Teoh says:

    All this talk doesn’t really matter. You’re going to use this device around the home (there’s wi-fi right?)

    You’re going to use it at Starbucks (there’s wi-fi right? Wireless@Sg is everywhere).

    You’re going to use at school. (wi-fi too)

    You’re going to use it to travel (oh wait. 3G data roaming costs an arm and a leg. Are you sure you’ll want to browse the web on 3G?)

    So suddenly… when you open up your mind and be objective about what your usage will be like with a device such as the iPad, squabbling over what micro SIM card is and who will stock what, when… or why…. is completely irrelevant. Well, at least for most users (me included).

  6. dk says:

    Kenny Teoh: Well, if you are just going to use it at home, then the WIFI version will be good enough for you. But if you are going to bring it out, then the 3G version would be better. There are always places where there is no WIFI. MRT is 1. Plus Wireless@sg can be unreliable at some places. :)

  7. AngryAngMo says:

    The Micro SIM card will be the new mobile future standard, and some argue that at one point someone has to start and be the first to implement it, otherwise it would never become a standard.

    However me personally I think the iPad uses the Micro SIM simply to avoid any other TelCos of providing bundles or iPad offers that are not agreed with Apple. Its a simple way of avoiding “hacking” because different to jailbraking or the iPhone, its hardware restricted and there is now way of getting around it besides… buying the Micro SIM card.

    .-= AngryAngMo´s last blog ..The complete Apple iPad Guide for Singapore (Prices / Shipping / Specs) =-.

  8. aCeMaSk says:

    The telcos here seem to be exploring the option of supporting the micro SIM. Page 3 of Straits Times together with the iPad article.

  9. abraxis says:

    I agree that the MicroSIM is another way of SIM locking. IF I actually bought an iPad, it would be for its mobile capabilities. Like an iPhone, you could use Wi-Fi wherever you could get online (Wireless SG, for all that’s worth). But more often than not, you’ll be checking email or reading/surfing the net. Trust me on this because whenever I’m in SG (I live in the US), I use a StarHub Green SIM that fine enough for voice/SMS but charges waaaay too much for data usage. Whenever I’m waiting for the MRT or the bus and want to kill time, not having a data connection or paying through the nose for data really blows. As a result, I don’t use it for that. If iPad had a standard SIM slot, I could buy a prepaid 3G data card from StarHub or M1. But I can’t so I’ll wont (pick up an iPad).
    .-= abraxis´s last blog ..Damn Fast (and Damn Nice) =-.

  10. dk says:

    abraxis: Good point. Travelers who want to use pre-paid data card will have a hard time trying to find a MicroSIM. I doubt any pre-paid card will come in MicroSIM, at least not for the next few years.

  11. Shawn says:

    erm… about tethering… doesn’t like the iPhone already support it built in? i’m using that when i’m outside with my macbook so i don’t really see the diff

  12. dk says:

    Shawn: Yes, iPhone 3.0 firmware supports tethering. The problem is, in the US, this feature was disabled by AT&T until recently when they allows it if you pay $20 per month.

    Which is why I’m saying that we are very lucky to be in Singapore. :)

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