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Detailed guide on mini, micro and nano sim cards

by Sneha Shukla

SIM cards are an integral part of mobile phones. It is primarily due to its key identification, authentication, and communication features. Thus, they play a large role in the smooth functioning of our mobile devices. Let us understand how a SIM card supports a cellular device in detail below: 


Subscriber Identity Module, commonly known as SIM cards, contains a processor, memory, and security circuits. It is made out of silicone and plated with gold.


Thus, when we insert the SIM card into our mobile, it reads the chip. This, in turn, allows us to store data like phone numbers and messages on our devices. Moreover, it also saves other information, such as the name of our service provider, PIN code, call history, Personal Unlocking Key (PUK) code, and unique serial number of the card. 


Now that we have a fair idea about the working of SIM cards, let’s go ahead and understand the different available sizes of SIM cards in detail: 


  • Micro SIM card


It is a smaller version of the mini-SIM card, which was introduced by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute, CP, 3GPP (UTRAN/GERAN), 3GPP2 (CDMA2000), ARIB, GSM Association (GSMA SCaG and GSMNA), Global Platform, Liberty Alliance, and the Open Mobile Alliance. 


A micro-SIM card was designed for the purpose of fitting into devices that were too small for a mini-SIM card. 


Due to its compact size, it is immensely used in the latest smartphones. For instance, the iPhone 4 was the first mobile phone to use a micro-SIM card in 2010, followed by many others. 


Now that we know what a micro-SIM card is, let’s understand its pros and cons in detail below:


Pros Cons
Saves space 

Small size


Easily breakable 

Easy to lose (if not handled properly)


  • Nano-SIM card 


Introduced in 2012, a nano-SIM card is the most recent invention. It is designed to cut down space in the newest smartphones like iPhone 5. 


Although, its design is similar to a micro-SIM card, a nano-SIM is approximately 15% smaller than a micro-SIM card. Thus, it helps in making room for other slots in mobile phones. 


Today, these SIM cards are widely used. So, it can be found in almost every latest smartphone in India. 


Let’s proceed further to know the advantages and disadvantages of using a nano-SIM card:


Pros  Cons
Easy to insert

Works with most devices

Small in size

Easy to lose


  • Mini-SIM card


Commonly known as a standard SIM card, a mini-SIM card is one of the oldest among the three. It was first introduced in 1996 for cell phone models like Nokia and iPhone 3GS. 


However, the mini-SIM cards are no longer in use ever since the introduction of micro and nano-SIM cards. Thus, it is quite rare to find those cards in any mobile device, today. 


Let’s understand what the pros and cons of a mini-SIM card are in detail below:


Pros Cons
Strong connectivity

Full-size card carrier 


Large size 


Quite honestly, the only difference between these three SIM cards is their size. So, let’s find out the physical dimension of these cards. 


We’ve curated a chart below that provides the exact size of each SIM card. Here, take a look:


Type of SIM Card  Length (mm) Width (mm) Height (mm)
Mini/Standard 25.00 15.00 0.76
Micro  15.00 12.00 0.76
Nano 12.30 8.80 0.67


Apart from their sizes, there is no prime difference between the micro, mini, and nano-SIM cards. They pretty much offer similar functions and services. So, let’s understand what these functions are in detail:


  • User Identification

The main function of every SIM card is to first identify the user. Once done, it then, provides them with a unique mobile number. 


  • Service Authentication

SIM cards use an authentication algorithm (a response given by each user). 


  • Number Storage 

The SIM cards allow us to store everyone’s number. Doing so further allows us to make calls and send text messages to people. 


  • Overseas Connectivity 

Every SIM card- be it micro, mini, or nano- provides roaming on mobile phones. So, enable the facility to connect to the loved ones from another state or country with these steps:

  • Go to the ‘Settings’ option
  • Choose ‘Wireless & Networks’
  • Click ‘Data Usage’ and switch on the mobile data
  • Go back to ‘Wireless & Networks’ and select ‘Mobile Networks’
  • Switch on ‘Data Roaming’


With these functions, every mobile user can enjoy a great calling and texting experience. So, what are you waiting for? Buy a new SIM card from a leading telecom operator like Airtel in just a few steps mentioned below:


  • Visit the nearest Airtel store and ask them for an Airtel mobile SIM card of your preference
  • Pay the required fees for the services of the card
  • Collect the Airtel mobile SIM card from the store 
  • Wait back in the store until the Airtel team activates the new SIM card. Once the team activates the SIM card, a confirmation message will be sent to the mobile phones. 
  • Insert the new SIM card into the smartphone after receiving the message
  • Restart the mobile phone to check if it’s working or not
  • Start using the phone if the Airtel mobile SIM card has been activated. If not, get in touch with the Airtel customer service team. 


Once we activate our Airtel mobile SIM card, be it micro, mini, or nano, we can then purchase an affordable Airtel mobile recharge plan based on our needs. 


Below is a list of some of the best Airtel mobile recharge plans. 


Price  Data Validity 
Rs. 99 Smart Recharge Plan 200 MB 28 Days
Rs. 301 Data Plan 50 GB NA
Rs. 499 Truly Unlimited Plan 2 GB/ day 28 Days
Rs. 599 Truly Unlimited Plan 3 GB/ day 56 Days


In a nutshell, SIM cards are an integral part of a cell phone. So, it is important to choose between micro, mini, and nano-SIM cards based on the phone model. Make the right choice to enjoy its services for a lifetime!

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