The SIM Card Turns Fifteen

No other smart card has taken the world by storm the way the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) has. Since it was introduced on the market 15 years ago, the SIM card has seen its power and performance soar. At first, it "merely" served security and personalization functions in GSM networks. Today, it turns mobile phones into versatile, secure terminals for wireless customers.

Munich technology group Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is celebrating a special anniversary. It was 15 years ago that the first commercial SIM cards were delivered to Finnish mobile communications corporation Elisa, at that time still known as Radiolinja. In its initial stages of development, the SIM card was intended to make mobile telephony in GSM networks as secure as talking on the phone of a fixed-line network. To accomplish that, it was designed to clearly establish the identity of wireless customers in order to prevent mobile networks from being abused. Additionally, it was meant to safeguard the confidentiality of user data. Its second key feature was its flexibility. Whenever customers changed phones, the SIM card could simply be transferred to the new handset.

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Mr Joseph Singer
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