Citizens' Issues
When ‘khul-ja SIM SIM’ can create troubles for you

Shopping for a phone during Diwali? Check the SIM card socket on the mobile you plan to buy; otherwise, you will spend a few hours getting your SIM resized and re-activated


A friend of mine was so happy to be one of the first customers to buy Apple's new iPhone 6. However, his joy was short lived. Reason? His existing mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) card was too big for the new handset. So he has to visit his mobile services provider, re-submit  know-you-customer (KYC) documents, buy a new nano SIM suitable for iPhone6, wait for over two hours for its activation and so on -- all this on the eve of Diwali. 


Isn't this the same story for almost everyone who has bought a new mobile handset? Mobile phone companies are unconcerned about the hassles caused to consumers when the hard sell newer models at a discount through online shopping channels.  And strangely enough, most of us are more focussed on the features of the phone and do not even remember to think about the SIM. 


Some of you may remember a SIM card full of metal tips/ plates all over. The size of these SIM cards (mini SIMs, to be specific) remained same for quite some time, albeit the metal plates shrank in dimension.


Then all of a sudden, phone companies introduced micro SIM cards. You then had the choice of having your SIM changed by submitting documents to your telecom service provider or, if you were more adventurous opt for the jugaad of ever-ready friendly neighbourhood shop. These quick-thinking entrepreneurs understood the hassles of queuing up at the mobile company batter than the multinational phone makers who decided to downsize the SIM card. They simply structured a SIM cutter, which looks like a stapler and cut the regular SIM down to a micro SIM that could fit into the appropriate slot. 


I used this myself when I switched phones. I asked an entrepreneur 'train friend' to carry the cutter with him in the train -- slipped in my regular SIM, press down and voila! I had a new micro SIM that worked perfectly. 


Cost wise there is not much difference between procuring a new micro SIM from the service provider (about Rs25 per SIM) and getting it cut from road side shop (about Rs10-20), a few rupees here and there. However, getting the job done from neighbourhood shop definitely saves you time and from trouble of submitting all KYC documents again.


You even have the option to buying the cutter online. One such two-in-one universal cutter is available for as low as Rs199 (including delivery charges). Moreover, you can even buy adaptor kit for nano, mini and micro SIM cards. This would be helpful, in case you frequently change handsets.


Now, let us discuss the technicalities of SIMs. Roughly, there are five types of SIM modules. Full-size SIMs were followed by mini-SIMs, micro-SIMs, and nano-SIMs. SIMs are also made to be embedded in devices.


Munich smart-card maker Giesecke & Devrient, who sold the first 300 SIM cards to the Finnish wireless network operator Radiolinja, introduced the first SIM, known as full size or 1FF in 1991. It has size of a credit card. Luckily, India was saved from using this large size SIM cards because by the time, mobile phones were introduced in the country, the mini SIM had arrived. The first mobile cellular phone was launched in India on 31 July 1995 and a first call was made from a Nokia 2110 handset.


What most of us have been using and was compatible for most handsets are mini SIMs, also known as 2FF in technical language. During 2003, micro SIM (3FF) entered the market. It had the same thickness, but its length and width was reduced.


The micro-SIM was designed for backward compatibility. The major issue for backward compatibility was the contact area of the chip. Retaining the same contact area allows the micro-SIM to be compatible with the prior, larger SIM readers using plastic cut out surrounds. 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 video with detailed instructions how to cut a mini-SIM card to micro-SIM size with a sharp knife or scissors. The iPhone 4 was the first smartphone to use a micro-SIM card in June 2010. Later the Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, various Nokia Lumia handsets, the Nokia N9 and the Sony Xperia followed.


Then on 11 October 2012, nano SIMs (4FF) were introduced. Nano SIMs can be put into adapters for use with devices taking 2FF or 3FF SIMs. The iPhone 5, released in September 2012, was the first device to use a nano-SIM card.


Another type is SIM that is being introduced is embedded-SIM or surface mount SON-8 package that is directly soldered to the circuit board during production. This is mostly used in devices where there is no need to change SIM card. This as a result avoids the need for a connector, improves reliability and security. Few days ago, Apple has introduced iPad devices having an embedded SIM. Media has been reporting on this calling the embedded SIM as Apple SIM.


Sarita Devi suspended by AIBA for protesting at Asiad

Sarita Devi will not be allowed to participate in the AIBA women's world boxing championships in Jeju Islands in Korea


Taking a strict action, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has provisionally suspended India's woman boxer Laishram Sarita Devi for refusing to accept the bronze medal at the Asian Games podium ceremony.


Protesting against a controversial verdict, Sarita in an unprecedented move, had refused to wear the medal around her neck as she broke down on the podium during the ceremony for the 57-60 kg category.


"The AIBA also provisionally suspended Sarita's coaches (Gurbakhsh Singh Sandhu, Blas Iglesias Fernandez and Sagar Mal Dhayal) as well as Indian chef-de-mission in the Incheon Asiad, Adille J Sumariwalla and will not allow any of them to participate at all levels of competitions, events and meetings until further notice," an AIBA statement said.


This case has been sent for review by the AIBA Disciplinary Commission and it means that Sarita Devi, the above mentioned coaches as well as Sumariwalla, will not be allowed to participate in the AIBA women's world boxing championships in Jeju Islands (Korea), 2014, the statement added.


The 29-year-old boxer accepted the medal in her hand and wiped her tears holding it, before handing it to South Korean silver medallist Ji-Na Park, who had defeated Sarita after a-what-seemed-to-be a 'bad' referee decision.


Even though the AIBA had taken note of her written apology, the international body surprisingly decided to suspend the boxer and the national coaches.



Chandresh Prakash

3 years ago

Politics is over encompassing! Sports and other fields have to take a back seat when it comes to politics. And this is true of the international sports federations as well. Be it UPA or NDA, they have least interest in improving sports conditions or encourage good sportsmen - rather they have to further their interest sadly but that is the current fact of life!

India grounds Sukhoi-30 fleet for safety checks

The fleet of about 200 twin-engine Sukhoi-30 would be back in air only when they are cleared by the technical review


India has grounded its entire fleet of Sukhoi-30 and each aircraft is undergoing a thorough technical check following a recent crash near Pune.


The fleet of about 200 twin-engine Su-30s would be back in air only when they are cleared by the technical review.


“The fleet has been grounded and is undergoing technical checks following the latest accident in Pune. It would be back in air only after a thorough check,” Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesperson Wing Commander Simranpal Singh Birdi said.


He did not specify the specific technical aspects that the force is looking into.


The grounded fleet represents almost a third of the country’s fighter fleet.


The IAF is down to 34 combat squadrons, as against an authorised strength of 44. Each squadron has up to 18 fighter planes.


Last week, a Sukhoi-30 MKI crashed in a field near Pune, and preliminary findings had suggested a technical problem in the fly-by-wire system as the cause and not human error.


In a press statement, the IAF had named the pilots as Wing Commander S Munje and Flying Officer Anup Singh.


“The SU 30 MKI Aircraft accident is under investigation. A Court of Inquiry is in progress to ascertain the actual cause of the accident,” he said.


Incidentally, one of the two pilots was involved in a previous Su-30 crash too.


This was the fifth accident involving a SU 30 MKI since 2009 and the fleet has been grounded at least twice earlier.


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