Difference between Mini, Micro, Nano SIM card

Mini SIM, micro SIM Card, nano SIM: what is the difference?

The manufacturers of smartphones and tablets evolved the SIM card slots to be of a precise size, otherwise the products used by the consumer is not compatible. What is the difference between a SIM card, a mini, micro or nano SIM? As many users are confused about the sizes and specifications of different SIM card types, and whose answers unfortunately are often wrong, incomplete, or not updated. We bring to you all the required information about the various kind of SIM cards and all other information related to it.

What is a SIM card?

The SIM Full Form is Subscriber Identification Module.

Three popular SIM card models: the mini, micro and nano SIM.

The SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module in English) allows through its chip to keep certain customer information (such as its contacts) and identify the subscriber on the mobile network. To be able to call, send text messages or browse the Internet, the subscriber must buy a phone, and get a SIM card from a telecom mobile operator, be it a prepaid card, a mobile plan without commitment or subsidized. After subscribing to a mobile plan, the SIM card given to it must be entered in the phone.

After some basic settings, the customer can benefit from access (internet, calls, SMS) that is given to him with his mobile subscription, thanks to the SIM card. But beware: various SIM card sizes exist, complicating the lives of users: some recent smartphones do not offer a compatibility with a micro SIM, or even as it is more and more the case that there is issue of compatibility with a nano (and not macro) SIM.

The different sizes of SIM cards

Till date, there are no less than 5 types of SIM card: the conventional SIM card, the mini SIM, the micro SIM, the nano SIM, and the latest arrival in the market, breaking records of small size, the e- SIM. Here is the list and detailed characteristics of each of these cards.


SIM card

Full name: full size SIM / 1FF / ID-1 UICC

Reference standard: ISO / IEC 7810: 2003, ID-1

Its dimensions: length: 85.6 millimeters, width: 54, thickness: 0.76.

Description: The size of this SIM card is same as the size of a credit card, the SIM card was in fact very quickly been discarded, its big size making its implementation in the phones extremely restrictive. We let you imagine trying to enter a SIM card of the size of your credit card in your phone…

The mini SIM

Full Name: Standard SIM Card / 2FF / UICC Plug-in

Reference standard: ISO / IEC 7810: 2003, ID-000

Its dimensions: length: 25 millimeters, width: 15, thickness: 0.76.

Description: It is more commonly known as the standard size SIM card. This is the type of SIM card found in most mobile phones, mainly GSM (old basic mobile phones).

The micro SIM

Full name: Micro SIM card / 3FF / Mini-UICC

Reference standard: ETSI TS 102 221

Its dimensions: length: 15 millimeters, width: 12, thickness: 0.76.

Description: The transition from the mini SIM to the micro SIM introduced the official beginning of the race to miniaturize smartphones: everything possible was done to save a few grams or a little space in touch phones.

The nano SIM

Full name: Nano SIM / 4FF card

Reference standard: ETSI TS 102 221

Its dimensions: length: 12.3 millimeters, width: 8.8, thickness: 0.67.

Description: First SIM card format to see its thickness decrease, by almost 12%. This format was introduced by Apple, the goal being to further reduce the size of the SIM card to offer a finer product which was in turn made even more finer and lighter. It is found nowadays with some manufacturers, such as Apple, HTC and Microsoft.

Embedded SIM card (e-SIM)

Full Name: Embedded SIM Card / 5FF

Reference Standard: JEDEC Design Guide 4.8, SON-8

Its dimensions: length: 6 mm, width: 5, thickness: less than 1.

Description: This is a SIM card that is integrated directly into the smartphone. It remains inaccessible by the users of the smartphone. Some manufacturers including Apple, wishing to take advantage of their hegemony, want to offer a smartphone whose SIM card is pre – implemented in the phone and which cannot be removed later by the consumers.

An option that is far from appealing to mobile operators, who see through this initiative a deprivation of their freedom, manufacturers controlling their customers’ subscriptions, and may even subsequently market their own packages.

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