Subscriber Identity Module Stories July 25, 2014

OECD data reveals one mobile Internet connection for every person in the U.S.

Data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reveals that there are now as many mobile Internet connections as there are people in the USA. While not everyone has a mobile data SIM or dongle, those with multiple devices make up for those left out, taking the average to a fraction over 100 percent.

Six other countries also manage to have more mobile data subscriptions than people, Finland topping the list with an average of 1.25 connections per person. The overall average across the 34 countries within the OECD grouping was 72.4 percent.

(via The Register)

Subscriber Identity Module Stories July 9, 2014

iphone_6_shell_dark-800x533-1

In what will only continue the endless stream of iPhone 6 leaks, MacRumors brings attention to a couple of new photos and videos of the supposed iPhone 6 back. Interestingly, a new dark black piece has been seen for the first time, featuring a shade much darker than the current Space Gray iPhone 5s. Until today, only gray pieces have been spotted, which does make the legitimacy of the part somewhat questionable.

The post also highlights some new images and videos from Fed & Volk, who ostensibly possess mid-production units of the iPhone 6 rear. This case is the standard light gray variant, however, and matches the component leaks we have been seeing from other sources for many months now. See a video of the part after the break …

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories September 2, 2013

Supposed video of red iPhone 5C hits web, fails to impress

It wouldn’t be hard to put a little red plastic around the edges of an iPhone 5 and do the same thing here, but it is getting some play so we’re posting it for discussion. A little more proof would simply be flipping the iPhone over to see the backside which suspiciously isn’t done.

This could also be an iPhone 5 with the now common iPhone 5C plastic shell slapped on the back.

A re-uploaded YouTube of the video is below:

Subscriber Identity Module Stories March 6, 2013

Solavei, the T-Mobile MVNO with the interesting affiliate program now carries iPhone 5 nano SIMs on its unlimited $49/m plan

Solavei, the T-Mobile MVNO offering $49-per-month unlimited on the carrier’s newly enhanced HSPA+ network, today announced the availability of nano SIM cards for unlocked iPhone 5 owners. That means iPhone 5 customers will now be able to sign up to the unlimited voice, text, and data plans by purchasing a nano SIM direct from Solavei for $9.

Solavei®, an affordable contract-free mobile service provider, today announces the availability of nano SIM cards, compatible with the iPhone 5, and widening the company’s phone compatibility to include all major smartphones. For $49 per month, members can now bring popular phones such as Apple’s iPhone 5, Samsung’s Galaxy SIII or Google’s Nexus 4 to Solavei and enjoy unlimited voice, text and data mobile service.

For those unfamiliar, on top of unlimited $49 per month plans, Solavei offers users the ability to offset their bills by earning monthly income from recommending others to the service. For every three users you sign up, the carrier will put $20 toward your monthly bill. Signing up an additional six will pay your entire bill and earn you a bit of extra money. Solavei said it uses the system in lieu of traditional advertising and noted it has paid out over $6.5 million through the program:

Subscriber Identity Module Stories February 22, 2013

Hong Kong carrier seeks judicial review of Apple’s iPhone network locking practices

After discovering the iPhone 5 would not function on its fourth-generation network, Hong Kong Telecom, a unit of telecommunications operator PCCW Ltd., filed a complaint with regulators in the country seeking a review of Apple’s iPhone locking practices. The Wall Street Journal reported HKT is now after a review from the courts regarding the way its initial complaint was handled. This could lead to a legal case against Apple’s over its locking policies:

HKT is seeking a judicial review of the way in which the regulator has dealt with the case. The regulator declined to comment on the case, citing current litigation.If the court chooses to grant a judicial review, it would open the way to the city’s first legal challenge of Apple’s locking practices in Hong Kong.

Bloomberg added that PCCW requested regulators investigate the blocking of iPhones on certain carriers including China Mobile and its own HKT:

Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone 5 is blocked from connecting to the fourth-generation wireless networks of PCCW and China Mobile Ltd. (941), while the smartphone can connect to rivals’ 4G high-speed networks, Hong Kong-based PCCW said in court documents obtained by Bloomberg News and dated Feb. 20… PCCW asked the regulator to investigate the locking of the smartphone, which restricts subscribers through SIM cards programmed to work with particular carrier networks, according to the documents.

Subscriber Identity Module Stories January 16, 2013

The HTC M7 looks very iPhone-like in latest leaked renders

From 9to5Google:

We have heard a lot about HTC’s upcoming M7 smartphone expected to replace the company’s One X line in recent weeks. The rumored 4.7-inch device has some pretty impressive specs, including “several industry firsts,” according to recent reports. However, it certainly doesn’t have an industry-first design, if this new leaked image from UnwiredView is legit, and I think Apple might agree.

The report quoted a “trusted source” and claimed the image above is clipped from “a short animation clip instructing new owners on first-time SIM card installation” for the M7. It’s likely we’ll get our first real look at M7 next month during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Subscriber Identity Module Stories November 1, 2012

AT&T and T-Mobile begin initiative to discourage theft by merging databases of stolen devices

AT&T and T-Mobile recently announced they would start to share a combined database of stolen mobile devices that aspires to discourage theft and shield customers.

All the major carriers, through their wireless association CTIA and the Federal Communications Commission, first revealed plans in April to merge their respective databases, but AT&T and T-Mobile were the first to do so yesterday.

CNET specifically elaborated on how the joint database works:

The database went live yesterday, and allows either AT&T or T-Mobile to block a device from being used on either network. In order to do that, the companies ban a device’s IMEI number — a unique identifier that tells networks what the device is and who owns it — and effectively stop it from being able to place calls.

In the past, stolen smartphones were blocked by eliminating the use of a SIM card. However, in the GSM world, a phone can be used with any SIM card. So, if a thief stole a device and popped in a new SIM card, it would still work. By targeting the IMEI number, that’s no longer the case.

Sprint and Verizon are expected join the initiative by November 2013.

Subscriber Identity Module Stories September 23, 2012

Developer Chronic offering up some free AT&T iPhone 5 unlocks

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While being the source of much iOS news (and entertainment), Chronic is also a hardworking developer/hacker who helps iOS users get out of jams. His latest foray is into iPhone carrier unlocking. GSM carriers —such as AT&T in the U.S., or Fido and Rogers in Canada, or others such as Koodoo or Telus— can be unlocked including the just released iPhone 5. Since each carrier requires a different process, the fees vary widely.

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As a special incentive to 9to5Mac readers, Chronic is offering four free iPhone 5 unlocks for those on AT&T. If you are interested, just put your name in the comments. Everyone else can go here for prices and availability for their GSM carriers (obviously—Verizon and Sprint users need not apply)

[tweet https://twitter.com/chronic/status/250024461624029184]

Subscriber Identity Module Stories September 11, 2012

Update: In a blog post prematurely posted on its UK website, Vodafone confirmed it has 500,000 nano-SIMs ready to go, while noting the “first devices have now been announced.” It also posted the images above showing off just how tiny the new SIMs are… approximately 40 percent  smaller than micro-SIM.

They’re so slim and tiny you might only be able to handle them with tweezers – but imagine the extra space the new nano-SIM card frees up inside your handset…The first devices have now been announced – and Vodafone has now got 500,000 of the new 12.3 mm x 8.8 mm nano-SIMs in stock.

We told you that nano-SIMs was arriving at carriers last week ahead of this week’s iPhone launch when the first one was spotted at T-Mobile partners in Europe. Today, iFun reports that Vodafone Germany also has its SIM cards in stock and ready to ship in the next 24 hours:

After the nano-SIM sightings at Telekom and O2 internally distributed cards, on which we reported in the course of the forenoon were able to report that we are now sitting in front of confirmed nano-SIM shipments Vodafone. expand full story

Subscriber Identity Module Stories September 5, 2012

Following a report late last month that T-Mobile would encourage unlocked iPhone users to switch carriers by advertising savings of $1,500 over two years versus AT&T, a report from TmoNews this morning claimed sources have indicated stores are preparing to display or possibly demo unlocked iPhones on T-Mobile’s 3G network. According to the report, store managers are being “asked to activate a new microSIM before the end of August, but not told what device it would used with.”

All the intel streaming in seems to point to a “bring your own iPhone” demonstration in store, which lines up perfectly with what T-Mobile’s been saying all along for their refarmed network. We’re also told that these in store displays all align with T-Mobile’s “selling against the iPhone” strategy in the hopes that customers will be enticed by bringing their own device, and pairing it with T-Mobile’s newly launched unlimited data plan.

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories August 28, 2012

report surfaced this morning about T-Mobile sending a memo to its sales staff that encourages them to sell against Apple’s iPhone beginning Sept. 21. Unsurprisingly, the memo confirmed T-Mobile would not be a carrier for the next-generation iPhone due out next month. Adding a bit to this morning’s story, TmoNews followed up with a new flyer that T-Mobile aims to show customers. The flyer boasts just how much iPhone users will save if they ditch AT&T and bring their unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile. Magenta is promising customers can save up to $1,500 over two years if they switch. T-Mobile’s single line offering actually sounds fabulous, as it offers customers truly unlimited data, text and minutes for only $75. That seems like a plan you can’t beat…unless you want 3G speeds. T-Mobile made a recent push to iPhone-compatible 1900MHz 3G network (and 4G at WWDC), but we are not sure how well it is doing on that front. Until then, EDGE 2.5G is as fast as you will get.

T-Mobile has not been able to sign up as an official iPhone carrier, so it has always made strides to welcome unlocked iPhone users. We previously reported there are roughly 1 million iPhone users on T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile offers a MicroSIM kit to make the switch on your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S a little easier. An updated version of the kit will hit stores beginning Aug. 29.

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In what should not be a surprise to anyone, it looks like T-Mobile won’t carry Apple’s next-generation iPhone. In a memo to employees, leaked by TmoNews, T-Mobile is encouraging its retail staff to begin “selling against the iPhone” on Sept. 21. Of course, Sept. 21 is the rumored launch date for the latest handset out of Cupertino. T-Mobile is probably just making an assumption, rather than having inside knowledge, but you never know.

T-Mobile has been battling for the iPhone for years and does not have much to show for it. Last holiday quarter alone, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier lost 802,000 contract customers (many of whom moved to pre-paid plans).

T-Mobile hosts over a million iPhone customers on its network. Thanks to T-Mobile’s recent push to 1900MHz 3G network (and 4G at WWDC), customers are able to enjoy magenta’s network. Luckily, for those who want to take the unlocked route, another leaked memo today shows that T-Mobile will sell an updated MicroSIM kit that allows customers to use their iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on the network. The new “Monthly4G microSIM kits” will begin arriving in stores Aug. 29 and will allow for T-Mobile’s awesome new unlimited data plan to be used. [TmoNews]

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories August 9, 2012

According to a new report from French publication Nowhereelse.fe and Chinese forum iColorOS, more sixth-generation iPhone parts have surfaced from China. As you can see above, we now have a look at the alleged glass front, home button, sensors, volume control buttons, and the protection element placed on the back of the phone screen that may appear in the next iPhone. The leak also adds a bit more validity to a report earlier this week that showed a new nano-SIM card and smaller home buttons for the device.

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories July 16, 2012

According to a report from Financial Times, carriers in Europe are stocking up on mini SIM cards designed for Apple’s next-generation iPhone in anticipation of the device’s expected October launch. In June, reports speculated that Apple’s nano-SIM design for the new 4FF standard was selected by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, while hands-on video of the next-generation iPhone backs, which we first revealed in May, showed what appeared to be a smaller SIM card holder.

Today’s report from FT claimed Apple’s nano SIM card design is indeed the mini SIMs being purchased by European operators:

Operators expect that the iPhone will feature the nano sim in a slimmed down design, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, and have begun to store millions of the cards in warehouses in anticipation of high demand for Apple’s iPhone. Apple declined to comment[Shocker]…

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories July 6, 2012

Subscriber Identity Module Stories June 18, 2012

Apple extends deal with Liquidmetal Technologies until 2014

As noted by MacRumors, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed today that Liquidmetal Technologies will continue to license its technology to Apple through Feb. 5, 2014. The previous deal from 2010 gave Apple rights to the patented amorphous metal alloys through Feb. 5 2012. As of yet, we only know Apple has tested Liquidmetal in its iPhone SIM card ejector tools, but we recently heard CEO Thomas Steipp (above) hinting that Apple plans to commercialize the technology. Rumors in April indicated it could be used in products on a larger scale within a few years.

Subscriber Identity Module Stories June 4, 2012

Liquidmetal Technologies CEO confirms upcoming parts in Apple consumer products [video]

Apple has been said to use the oh-so shiny Liquidmetal technology ever since the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company obtained a patent to use Liquidmetal in its products in 2o1o. Apple ran a test using Liquidmetal in its SIM card ejector tool, and it is further rumored to be investigating uses in batteries. Some even said that Liquidmetal would be used in the next iPhone. However, it is unlikely that the casing will be made of the material.

In what looks to be a video aimed toward potential investors, Liquidmetal Technologies’ CEO Tom Steipp confirmed his company’s involvement by announcing it is supplying Liquidmetal to Apple. In the video seen below, the CEO said (55 seconds): “Our technology has been commercialized in a number of accounts,most recently by Apple computer, which took a license on the product in August of 2010. [Apple] along with us are commercializing [Liquidmetal] in the consumer electronic space.”

We do not believe Steipp is confirming Liquidmetal as a feature in the next iPhone, iPad, or computer on a large-scale. Although, it appears he is confirming that Apple will/has used Liquidmetal for more expensive parts—perhaps dealing with dense batteries. It makes sense for Apple to use the best materials out there.

This is not the first time we have heard from Steipp:

Subscriber Identity Module Stories June 1, 2012

We already knew that Apple is pushing hard to have the European Telecommunications Standards Institute select its nano-SIM card design over competitors like Nokia and Motorola, who proposed their own alternative design with RIM. While it was rumored that Apple had support from the majority of European operators, the ETSI confirmed today that it has selected a form factor for the new 4FF SIM Card:

The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.

The announcement from the ESTI does not flat-out confirm Apple’s design was chosen, but we are able to confirm that the new form factor does match up nicely with measurements of Apple’s proposed design thanks to a little bit of investigative work courtesy of The Verge. Unfortunately, Nokia and Motorola’s proposed design had almost identical dimensions. We will have to wait for more official information on the new standard from ESTI before we know for sure that Apple’s design was selected.

The ESTI explained the standard would be published in its TS 102 221 specification:

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories May 29, 2012

More photos of purported next iPhone surface, this time in white with suspect font

Update: We have what appear to be the real deal right here

Following our report from this morning on what may be the new iPhone back plate, MacRumors published three new images that it received from another parts supplier. You will obviously note that the “iPhone” font on this one looks much different from ours and the joints appear to be slightly…disjointed.

We are not exactly sure what is happening here, but this is interesting timing. And, we have more coming in 3…2…1…

Subscriber Identity Module Stories May 9, 2012

Apple’s nano-SIM design modified to ease concerns, standard decision looms

The Verge met with SIM manufacturer Giesecke & Devrient at the CTIA Wireless trade show to get an update on the 4FF standard, also known as the “nano-SIM,” which caused Apple and Nokia to duke it out in recent times. The firm is exhibiting Apple’s design at the show (above), a 3FF micro-SIM expansion that iOS users are familiar with, while none of Nokia’s competing design was present. When questioned if that suggested the company is going with Apple, G&D said, “We work with everybody,” and then elaborated:

  • The company tells [The Verge] that the ETSI vote on the 4FF standard that had been delayed back in March is actually now underway. Voting began for ETSI members in mid-April and wraps up in mid-May, mere days away. G&D is a voting member, though it wouldn’t tell [The Verge] which way it’s leaning — needless to say, the presence of Apple’s design here signals that they’ll almost certainly put their votes in that direction and away from Nokia’s more radical design that limits backward compatibility with micro-SIM and mini-SIM slots on older phones.
  • The delay in the vote had been due largely to Nokia’s vocal displeasure in Apple’s design, saying in March that Apple explicitly violated ETSI’s design guidelines for 4FF — guidelines that specified that a nano-SIM should be shaped in such a way that it would be difficult or impossible for a customer to accidentally jam it into a micro-SIM slot. G&D noted to [The Verge] that Apple’s design has now been modified: a small amount of plastic has been added around the edges of the electrical contacts, making the new nano-SIM just long enough so that it can’t be forced lengthwise into an incompatible socket. (The tradeoff, of course, is that the revised design is even less different than the micro-SIM it’s designed to replace, saving relatively little room inside the phone for other components.)

G&D also mentioned the micro-SIM took roughly five years before it introduced in the iPhone, but that same time frame is not expected now, because “adoption is being driven by a supplier […]we’ll see a product very soon after ratification.”  Therefore, it is assumed we would see a nano-SIM in at least next year’s iPhone, as long as the ETSI passes the tech this month.

Subscriber Identity Module Stories April 23, 2012

Weiphone’s Hacker Loktar_Sun just unearthed how to unlock an iPhone—including the iPhone 4S.

To complete Weiphone’s step-by-step unlock tutorial, the latest version of iTunes and a jailbroken iPhone is required. For those unaware, unlocking is the process of modifying an iPhone’s software so that it can operate through carriers other than its official carrier in a given country. Also, a jailbroken iPhone simply means it is freed from the limitations imposed by Apple for safety measures.  In other words, continue at your own risk.

The following process is straightforward for anyone familiar with unlocked or jailbroken iPhones: expand full story

Subscriber Identity Module Stories March 27, 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking to have Apple drop the “4G” from the advertising/website of its new iPad products with cell modems…

The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the new “iPad with WiFi + 4G” is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product “iPad with WiFi + 4G” can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.

Optus and Telstra do not use the compatible LTE radio frequencies as Apple’s iPad; therefore, new iPads are not compatible with the LTE 4G networks in Australia. Both mobile carriers already dropped the “4G” naming on the new iPad on their websites. However, Apple does display “iPad +4G” on the Apple.com.au website.

The speed that the iPad gets in Australia is pretty solid…

[vodpod id=Video.16283816&w=425&h=350&fv=playerType%3Dembedded%26amp%3Btype%3Did%26amp%3Bvalue%3D50122211]

Importantly, Apple has the subtext:

The iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G model can roam worldwide on fast GSM/UMTS networks, including HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. When you travel internationally, you can use a micro-SIM card from a local carrier. You can also connect to the 4G LTE networks of AT&T in the U.S. and Bell, Rogers, and Telus in Canada.

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More importantly, it does not look like Australians play high and fast with marketing terms like “4G” as we do here in the United States, which now describes HSPA+ on AT&T iPhone 4S’s. expand full story

Subscriber Identity Module Stories February 10, 2012

Update: We’ve been told by a source at AT&T that those micro-SIMS are for the forthcoming Pantech Burst and Element which are also on the way to AT&T this week.

A regular AT&T SIM card (left) and a 4G LTE Micro-SIM (right). Click for larger.

A new batch of Micro-SIMs arrived at AT&T stores. We would normally pass on the news—if those were normal non-miniaturized 4G LTE Micro-SIMs. Based on an anonymous tip, Phone Arena noted AT&T now getting LTE Micro-SIM cards “could be an indication that the next iPhone will finally support 4G LTE connectivity.” If you ask us, those are likely for the Nokia Lumia 900 that is hitting the AT&T network on March 18.

Granted, it is not entirely out of question that AT&T LTE Micro-SIMs are in anticipation of a sixth-generation iPhone that is presumably scheduled for an announcement this summer. Apple was the first major handset maker to switch to tiny 3G SIM cards with iPhone 4, which was a move born out of necessity due to space constraints in the 9.3mm device. The iPhone 4/4S are the only Apple products compatible with the Micro-SIM standard.

What about the iPad 3, you ask….

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Subscriber Identity Module Stories November 11, 2011

Apple’s US online store today began accepting orders for the unlocked iPhone 4S, priced at $649/$749/$849 for the 16/32/64GB version, making good on its promise to provide the unlocked handset in November. The company advises:

The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

An unlocked iPhone 4S is of particular interest to those traveling abroad as they can just pop in a local carrier’s SIM card to avoid paying exorbitant roaming fees.

Meanwhile, carrier Sprint today begun SIM-locking all iPhone 4S devices purchased Friday, November 11, 2011 and onwards, SprintFeed noted. According to SprintFeed:

Starting tomorrow, all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked. The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer or rep).

9to5Mac discovered mid-October that Apple Stores in the United States were selling contract-free iPhones. Any GSM phone that was sold off contract was unlocked and we’ve confirmed that they’ve stayed unlocked, even after the 5.0.1 update (below). expand full story

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