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Nano-SIM card ruling delayed by squabbles

We'll have to wait a while for a decision on the next generation of SIM cards thanks to squabbles between Apple, Nokia and others.

Recently we reported how mobile manufacturers are locked in a standoff over what format the next generation of SIM cards should take. Now the vote has been postponed while the companies fight it out, the BBC reports.

The industry was gearing up to vote, but they've all ended up squabbling like kids having a food fight. Hence the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) -- the organisation governing it all -- has delayed the vote until the end of June.

Apple has offered royalty-free licensing of its proposed nano-SIM design, with the proviso that it's chosen as the standard. If that happens, however, Nokia has threatened to withhold crucial patents, and throw its toys out of the pram into the bargain.

SanDisk, meanwhile, also holds patents that could prove essential, and is resisting Nokia's proposal. Not to be outdone, BlackBerry-maker RIM has thrown its hat into the ring, accusing Apple of having its employees re-register as representatives of carriers to sway the vote Apple's way. RIM points out that voting by proxy is outlawed.

All the manufacturers listed, as well as telecoms providers (ie networks) are members of the ETSI. The plan is to poll them all and hope some kind of consensus is reached. Whichever design is chosen, the nano-SIM is expected to be at least a third smaller than the micro-SIM Apple pioneered.

Someone from Nokia described Apple's proposed royalty-free licensing of its design as "like offering a bicycle in order to borrow our Mercedes". So expect this one to run and run.

ETSI has set out some criteria for the nano-SIM. It has to look different to current SIMs, so no one breaks their phone by trying to shove in the wrong type of card. Nokia has latched onto this, arguing Apple's design is the same length as the micro-SIM's width, and therefore should be disqualified.

"We are not prepared to get into a position where our technology is used to implement a standard that is technologically inferior, and doesn't meet ETSI's own requirements," said Mark Durrant, Nokia's director of communications.

Oh brother. Any suggestions? Let me know what you think they should do in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.