What is a MicroSIM or 3FF SIM Card ?

micro SIM CARD

Each and everyone of us use a SIM card today. Not only one, may be many.What was once an expensive chip to acquire back in the early days of mobile telephony has become a very cheap plastic card that is available even for free if the mobile operators are desperate to add new connections. Yesterday Apple announced the iPad which works over Wi-Fi and 3G / GSM networks with microSIM cards. If you thought that the MicroSIM or 3FF Sim Card is a new invention , you might be wrong . The introduction of these cards dates back to 2003.

According to a story by SmartCardTrends , the ESTI or The European Telecommunications Standards Institute ‘s  project Smart Card platform planned to introduce a  new smart card which was half the size of the current day SIM Cards or Subscriber Identity Module. The introduction was mainly to cater to the Data Only GSM devices in the market.  With the MicroSIM card you can have a SIM inside your watch , Camera , iPad  or pretty much any device which needs only data and no telephony unlike the normal SIM Card.

Here is a great visual comparison from a Swiss institute

This new form of the SIM card was named the 3FF SIM Card or Third Form Factor.

First Form – Credit Card Sized cards

Second Form – Stamp Sized SIM cards like you see in the image above

Third Form – microSIM

A 3FF SIM  Card measures only 12mm x 15mm compared to the current SIM card which measures 15×25 mm

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Author: Team FoneArena

A team of mobile geeks

  • sachu

    cool man. very good article. really good. i was wondering what it meant when i heard from the announcement yesterday.

  • is this available in india???

    • vishwajeet

      these people will not make it avaliable in india they dont want to see iphone 4 in our hands

  • manikandan

    great job

  • Paros

    Good Information as I heard at the time of Ipad launch.

  • Rish, it’s your carrier’s call. I’m sure India is up to speed. Here in Malaysia we are keeping fingers crossed. The carrier of the iPhone ‘unofficially’ said they will make the MicroSims available by the time the 3G iPad arrives – in June or July.


  • microsim

    the microsim adapters are now available at microsim-shop.com.

  • Shafie

    Be very careful when using Micro SIM adapters as practical testing showed a huge risk in mobile contacts to be damaged, the iPhone is not a problem since the SIM tray eliminates this risk.

    By the way, the Micro SIM can be used in any mobile phone and will act a normal SIM i.e. you can make call from the Micro SIM.

  • Bradley

    Guys, as far as I know, there is no need to buy two Ipad data plans! I heard there is a thing called micro sim adapter. Basically, u put ur microsim card inside it, and then u can use it in both Ipad and Iphone. I googlesearched it and found this site that sells it:
    gomicrosim . com They say it costs 4.5 EUR. They also seem to offer the sticker guide to cut the regular simcard into the microsim. According to my calculations it should save me 1440$, since now I have no need to buy another 2 years plan with AT&T.

  • Shafie, how would you explain that even Telecommunication companies like Orange in France provide own customers with these adapters?

    I don’t agree with you about being careful…

  • prtk

    Jst to let u guys know that Airtel now have these MicroSIM cards… So get urs if u have an iPhone 4 or an iPad 3G. I jst got mine…

  • Mofire

    Now available in Kenya exclusively to Safaricom subscriber!!!

  • vishu

    plese launch micro sim because we have purchased iphone 4 in austrialia and it is not running without micro sim once again please please please please please please p-lease launch it soon to all sim card compnies

  • vishwajeet

    launch it my best wishes to all sim card companies