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Micro SIM card standard talks end in deadlock

Blame Apple and Nokia
Mon Apr 02 2012, 11:51

STANDARDS ORGANISATION the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has admitted that efforts to get mobile phone and communications vendors to agree on a next-generation SIM card design have ended in deadlock.

The organisation reported that, at its 54th meeting held on 29 and 30 March 2012 at Sophia Antipolis, France, ETSI's Smart Card Platform Technical Committee (TC SCP) was forced to postpone any decision on the fourth form factor (4FF) for the Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) SIM card.

"The committee decided to delay any vote on the subject in the interest of trying to achieve a broad industry consensus, which is in keeping with the preferred decision making process at ETSI," the organisation said in a statement.

ETSI would not respond to our requests for details on the reason it has not been able to broker a deal that reaches "broad industry agreement". However, it acknowledged the interest in its decision-making for the new SIM standard, saying, "Given the strong media interest, exceptionally ETSI has decided to communicate on this ongoing process."

Although the organisation is remaining tight lipped, blame strongly points toward a spat between Apple and Nokia, which are backing rival standards. Apple is backing its own card design and promises to license it in a cost-free arrangement for other industry players, while Nokia insists that its smaller SIM more closely meets ETSI's design parameters.

The next scheduled ETSI opportunity for a decision on the new standard SIM will be at the upcoming TC SCP meeting on 31 May through 1 June 2012 in Osaka, Japan. However ETSI added that it would be possible for an earlier meeting to be called by the chairman of TC SCP to deal with this subject, although this would require a minimum of 30 days notice to ETSI members. µ


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