Feeds

Weeny SIM Wi-Fi hotspot is here! But why?

Er... look how tiny!

Boost IT visibility and business value

MWC Another attempt to add value to the diminutive GSM SIM sees Sagem Orga squeezing an entire Wi-Fi hotspot into a SIM card - we're just not sure why.

SIMFi, as the product has been named, is a normal SIM card usable in any handset, but it also packs 802.11 Wi-Fi that can enable any 3G handset to operate as a hotspot sharing its connectivity with nearby Wi-Fi-enabled devices - assuming a network operator decides to deploy it.

The concept isn't particularly complicated: the SIM Toolkit allows an application running on the SIM to establish a network connection via the handset, and 802.11 can be packed into a SIM which can hide an antenna in the plastic surround and draw enough power from the handset to host the host-spot. All the SIM application has to do is bridge between the two networks, and provide some text-based user control via the standard SIM Toolkit menu commands.

Technically there are issues packing the radio inside a mobile phone, and Sagem should be congratulated for achieving that; though one has to ask if anyone really wants such a thing, and (more importantly) if any network operator will sign up to distribute it.

Western network operators have been lamentably slow in realising the potential of the SIM. In Europe only Orange has even made a token effort: trying to deploy high-capacity SIMs in France, despite the SIM manufacturers trying every trick in the book to add value to what has become a commoditised product.

We've seen gigabytes of flash memory, high-speed connections, GPS receivers, accelerometers, automated back-ups and even short-range radios all embedded in SIMs. But operators are very wary of anything which drives up the price - as one executive told your correspondent: "Add a dollar to the cost of a SIM, and you've just spent $10m."

That assumes, of course, that every SIM is upgraded, but today's yoof are much more comfortable with SIMs than the middle-aged management running our mobile networks. China Mobile's new proximity-payment systems, based on RF SIM, will be sold to customers who are expected to drop it into their handsets and remember if they've upgraded or not.

With MobilePay signed up to distribute RF SIMs in the USA, perhaps network operators will wake up to the fact that upgrading one SIM doesn't mean upgrading them all, but even if they do we're still not convinced that a Wi-Fi hotspot is the ideal application to be squeezed into a SIM. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?