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Vote on nano-SIM technology gets delayed

A decision on which nano-SIM card technology will be the next main standard has been pushed back until the end of May following controversy.

A standard sized SIM (left) and a smaller micro-SIM (right). The nano-SIM promises to be even smaller.
A standard size SIM (left) and a smaller micro-SIM (right). The nano-SIM promises to be even smaller.
Donald Bell/CNET

A decision on what will be the next SIM card technology for smartphones and other portable devices has been delayed following a spat between competing hardware makers.

In a statement today, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) said that it is postponing its decision on what's come to be known as nano-SIM until the end of May.

"The committee decided to delay any vote on the subject in the interest of trying to achieve a broad industry consensus, which is in keeping with the preferred decision making process at ETSI," the group said in a statement.

The move follows claims by Research In Motion that rival Apple was trying to skew the results by having company representatives change their company affiliation when they cast their proxy votes. Both companies, along with Motorola Mobility and Nokia, hope to have their own version of the technology picked as the new standard, which will then be used in new handsets.

SIM cards store the device user's phone number and mobile identity on the network. A smaller version of the micro-SIM, which contains the nano-SIM new technology features additional storage for increased functionality. It's the latest in a series of updates to shrink the size of the hardware to help make more room inside mobile devices.

Apple has reportedly offered to provide the technology's patents to fellow mobile device makersat no cost. However, in exchange, those firms would have to adopt Apple's technology as an industry standard and offer the "same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity."

French outlet Les Echos first reported the delay last night.

CNET editor Steven Musil contributed to this report.