Feeds

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

Er... look how tiny!

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.