SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

SIM Full Form

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

The full form of SIM is “Subscriber Identity Module“.

A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module (SIM), it widely known as a SIM card, is an integrated circuit running a card operating system (COS) that is intended to securely store the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and its related key, which are used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile telephony devices (such as mobile phones and computers).

The first SIM card was developed in 1991 by Munich smart-card maker Giesecke & Devrient, who sold the first 300 SIM cards to the Finnish wireless network operator Radiolinja.

 

the SIM cards are always used on GSM phones; for CDMA phones, they are needed only for LTE-capable handsets.

On cdmaOne networks, the equivalent of the SIM card is the R-UIM and the equivalent of the SIM application is the CSIM.

 

It is also possible to store contact information on many SIM cards.

The first UICC smart cards were the size of credit and bank cards; sizes were reduced several times over the years, usually keeping electrical contacts the same, so that a larger card could be cut down to a smaller size.

The SIM circuit is part of the function of a universal integrated circuit card (UICC) physical smart card, which is usually made of PVC with embedded contacts and semiconductors.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

 

 

SIM cards are transferable between different mobile devices.

a personal identification number (PIN) for ordinary use, and a personal unblocking key (PUK) for PIN unlocking.

 

A SIM card contains a unique serial number (ICCID), international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number, security authentication and ciphering information, temporary information related to the local network, a list of the services the user has access to, and two passwords.

 

SIM cards can also be used in satellite phones, smart watches, computers, or cameras.

 

 

In Europe, the serial SIM number (SSN) is also sometimes accompanied by an international article number (IAN) or a European article number (EAN) required when registering on line for the subscription of a prepaid card.

Today, SIM cards are ubiquitous, allowing over 7 billion devices to connect to cellular networks around the world.

 

History and procurement :-

The SIM was initially specified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in the specification with the number TS 11.11. This specification describes the physical and logical behaviour of the SIM.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

The idea of incorporating a silicon IC chip onto a plastic card originates from the late 1960s.

Smart cards have since used MOS integrated circuit chips, along with MOS memory technologies such as flash memory and EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory).

With the development of UMTS, the specification work was partially transferred to 3GPP. 3GPP is now responsible for the further development of applications like SIM (TS 51.011) and USIM (TS 31.102) and ETSI for the further development of the physical card UICC.

The SIM card is a type of smart card, the basis for which is the silicon integrated circuit (IC) chip.

 

The rise of cellular IoT and 5G networks is predicted to drive the growth of the addressable market for SIM card manufacturers to over 20 billion cellular devices by 2020.

 

The introduction of embedded-SIM (eSIM) and remote SIM provisioning (RSP) from the GSMA may disrupt the traditional SIM card ecosystem with the entrance of new players specializing in “digital” SIM card provisioning and other value-added services for mobile network operators.

According to the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA), there were 5.4 billion SIM cards manufactured globally in 2016 creating over $6.5 billion in revenue for traditional SIM card vendors.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

 

 

Modern SIM cards allow applications to load when the SIM is in use by the subscriber.

 

The main specifications are: ETSI TS 102 223 (the toolkit for smartcards), ETSI TS 102 241 (API), ETSI TS 102 588 (application invocation), and ETSI TS 131 111 (toolkit for more SIM-likes).

 

SIM toolkit applications were initially written in native code using proprietary APIs. To provide interoperability of the applications, ETSI chose Java Card.

These applications communicate with the handset or a server using SIM Application Toolkit, which was initially specified by 3GPP in TS 11.14. (There is an identical ETSI specification with different numbering.) ETSI and 3GPP maintain the SIM specifications.

 

A multi-company collaboration called GlobalPlatform defines some extensions on the cards, with additional APIs and features like more cryptographic security and RFID contactless use added.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

 

Full-size SIM :-

The full-size SIM (or 1FF, 1st form factor) was the first form factor to appear. It was the size of a credit card (85.60 mm × 53.98 mm × 0.76 mm).

 

Later smaller SIMs are often supplied embedded in a full-size card from which they can be removed.

 

 

Mini-SIM :-

 

The memory chip from a micro-SIM card without the plastic backing plate, next to a US dime, which is approx. 18 mm in diameter

 

 

The mini-SIM (or 2FF) card has the same contact arrangement as the full-size SIM card and is normally supplied within a full-size card carrier, attached by a number of linking pieces.

As the full-size SIM is no longer used, some suppliers refer to the mini-SIM as a “standard SIM” or “regular SIM”.

This arrangement (defined in ISO/IEC 7810 as ID-1/000) lets such a card be used in a device that requires a full-size card – or in a device that requires a mini-SIM card, after breaking the linking pieces.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

X-ray image of a mini-SIM, showing the chip and connections.

 

 

Micro-SIM :-

 

The micro-SIM was introduced by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) along with SCP, 3GPP (UTRAN/GERAN), 3GPP2 (CDMA2000), ARIB, GSM Association (GSMA SCaG and GSMNA), GlobalPlatform, Liberty Alliance, and the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) for the purpose of fitting into devices too small for a mini-SIM card.

The micro-SIM (or 3FF) card has the same thickness and contact arrangements, but reduced length and width as shown in the table above.

The form factor was mentioned in the December 1998 3GPP SMG9 UMTS Working Party, which is the standards-setting body for GSM SIM cards,and the form factor was agreed upon in late 2003.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

 

The micro-SIM was designed for backward compatibility.

 

The SIM was also designed to run at the same speed (5 MHz) as the prior version.

The same size and positions of pins resulted in numerous “How-to” tutorials and YouTube videos with detailed instructions how to cut a mini-SIM card to micro-SIM size.

The chairman of EP SCP, Dr. Klaus Vedder, said.

ETSI has responded to a market need from ETSI customers, but additionally there is a strong desire not to invalidate, overnight, the existing interface, nor reduce the performance of the cards.

Micro-SIM cards were introduced by various mobile service providers for the launch of the original iPad, and later for smartphones, from April 2010.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

The iPhone 4 was the first smartphone to use a micro-SIM card in June 2010, followed by many others.

 

Nano-SIM :-

 

The nano-SIM is 0.67 mm (0.026 in) thick, compared to the 0.76 mm (0.030 in) of its predecessors. 4FF can be put into adapters for use with devices designed for 2FF or 3FF SIMs, and is made thinner for that purpose, and telephone companies give due warning about this.

 

A small rim of isolating material is left around the contact area to avoid short circuits with the socket.

The nano-SIM (or 4FF) card was introduced on 11 October 2012, when mobile service providers in various countries started to supply it for phones that supported the format. The nano-SIM measures 12.3 mm × 8.8 mm × 0.67 mm (0.484 in × 0.346 in × 0.026 in) and reduces the previous format to the contact area while maintaining the existing contact arrangements.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

 

 

The iPhone 5, released in September 2012, was the first device to use a nano-SIM card, followed by other handsets.

In February 2015, it was reported by The Intercept that the NSA and GCHQ had stolen the encryption keys (Ki’s) used by Gemalto (the manufacturer of 2 billion SIM cards annually), enabling these intelligence agencies to monitor voice and data communications without the knowledge or approval of cellular network providers or judicial oversight.

 

Security :-

In July 2013, Karsten Nohl, a security researcher from SRLabs, described vulnerabilities in some SIM cards that supported DES, which, despite its age, is still used by some operators.

 

The attack could lead to the phone being remotely cloned or let someone steal payment credentials from the SIM.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

Further details of the research were provided at BlackHat on 31 July 2013.

In response, the International Telecommunication Union said that the development was “hugely significant” and that it would be contacting its members.

 

 

When GSM was already in use, the specifications were further developed and enhanced with functionality such as SMS and GPRS. These development steps are referred as releases by ETSI. Within these development cycles, the SIM specification was enhanced as well: new voltage classes, formats and files were introduced.

 

 

Having finished its investigation, Gemalto claimed that it has “reasonable grounds” to believe that the NSA and GCHQ carried out an operation to hack its network in 2010 and 2011, but says the number of possibly stolen keys would not have been massive.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

 

The major issue for backward compatibility was the contact area of the chip. Retaining the same contact area makes the micro-SIM compatible with the prior, larger SIM readers through the use of plastic cutout surrounds.

USIM :-

In GSM-only times, the SIM consisted of the hardware and the software. With the advent of UMTS this naming was split: the SIM was now an application and hence only software.

 

The hardware part was called UICC. This split was necessary because UMTS introduced a new application, the universal subscriber identity module (USIM).

 

The USIM brought, among other things, security improvements like the mutual authentication and longer encryption keys and an improved address book.

 

UICC :-

Main article:

Universal integrated circuit card
“SIM cards” in developed countries today are usually UICCs containing at least a SIM application and a USIM application.

 

This configuration is necessary because older GSM only handsets are solely compatible with the SIM application and some UMTS security enhancements rely on the USIM application.

 

 

A virtual SIM is a mobile phone number provided by a mobile network operator that does not require a SIM card to connect phone calls to a user’s mobile phone.

SIM Full Form – Subscriber Identity Module

 

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