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The Evolution of SIM Cards: From Mini to Nano to eSIM

The first SIM card in the world was the size of a credit card. Imagine how basic technology has been in the past. The evolution has been done right from the SIM cards, not just in terms of their size but also their functionalities. 

In this article, you will get a clear understanding of the complete evolution of SIM cards, starting from mini to nano to eSIMs. 

While buying a new SIM, have you ever thought of its evolution? How the full-size sim cards turned into small nano SIMs. But this time, let's take a moment to understand how this technology has grown over time. 

History and Evolution of SIM Cards

The first phone in the world, Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, launched in 1983, didn't have to use a SIM card. Back then, when the technology was new it cost $4000 and weighed one kilogram. 

In the early 90s, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) was implemented. It was the 2G (Second-Generation) of communication facilities within cellular networks. And since then, the size of the SIM began to shrink gradually. Here is a brief walkthrough for you to understand the evolution of SIM cards:

  • The First SIM Card- The first SIM card in the world was launched in 1991 by the German company named, Giesecke+Devrient. It looked like a Credit Card. 

  • Mini SIM- People who were born in the 90s must be aware of the mini-SIM, which was launched in 1996. You had to remove the mobile phone’s battery pack and insert this SIM underneath it in a small locking area. 

  • Micro SIM- The size of the SIM further shrunk to a micro level in 2010. Apple iPhone 4 was the first device to introduce support for microSIM technology. 

  • Nano SIM- In 2012, nanoSIM was launched and is still one of the preferable SIM sizes that are being used to date. 

Earlier, the activation of SIM cards used to take days. But, as you now have the convenience of buying SIM cards online, the activation is also processed along with the delivery of the card. 

The Era of Buying eSIM Online

The next stage of evolution of SIM cards was with eSIMs. This technology leads to an integrated SIM within the motherboard of the smartphone. So, you can download the eSIM from your network provider and install it upon that hardware to get instantaneous connectivity. 

The size of eSIM hardware is three times smaller than that of nanoSIM. So, technically, it is an innovation to save the hardware space for flagship smartphones to utilise that space to add more features. The eSIMs were also launched in 2012. 

When you get an eSIM online, you can add multiple plans onto it and switch between them, depending on your use. Thus, this is expectedly the latest stage of evolution among SIMs.


This is a pretty clear picture of the complete evolution of SIM cards. If you are to get a SIM card online today, then you can get either a universal SIM with a smaller chipset and with micro and nano cutouts for respective devices. Depending on your device's compatibility, you can use the mini, micro or nano version of the physical SIM. 

On the other hand, you can also buy eSIM online and get your service pack delivered via email. Scan it with your device, and you are good to go! 

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To buy eSIM online, visit: eSIM: Local eSIM for Travellers | Prune