The invention of the SIM Card and it’s evolvement
February 26, 2024

The invention of the SIM Card and it’s evolvement

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module) is an integrated circuit (IC) intended to securely store an international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and its related key, which are used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile devices (such as mobile phones, computers, satellite phones, smartwatches and laptops). Technically the actual physical card is known as a universal integrated circuit card (UICC); the smart card is usually made of PVC with embedded contacts and semiconductors, with the SIM as its primary component. 

A SIM card contains a unique serial number, an integrated circuit card identification (ICCID), an international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number, a security authentication and ciphering information, temporary information related to the local network, a list of the services the user has access to, and four passwords – a personal identification number (PIN) for ordinary use, and a personal unblocking key (PUK) for PIN unlocking as well as a second pair (called PIN2 and PUK2 respectively), which are used for managing fixed dialing number and some other functionality. In Europe, the serial SIM number (SSN) is also sometimes accompanied by an international article number (IAN) or a European article number (EAN), which is required when registering online for the subscription of a prepaid card. It is also possible to store contact information on SIM cards.

The first SIM cards were the size of a credit card and sizes were reduced several times over the years.

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X became the first commercially available handheld cellular mobile phone in 1983 using analog cellular technology..

The second-generation (2G) digital cellular technology was launched in Finland by Radiolinja on the GSM standard In 1991.

German company Giesecke+Devrient launched the first SIM card in 1991. It was about the size of a credit card and called a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).

In 1996 the Mini SIM, or regular SIM, was launched. You had to open the battery area on the back of your phone to insert the Mini SIM.

The SIM card size continued to shrink with the launch of the Micro SIM in 2010. The iPhone 4 was the first device to support the new Micro SIM technology.

In 2012 the Nano SIM was launched and is still used today in most modern phones.

Today, SIM cards are integrated into your phone, enabling you to download an eSIM plan for instant connectivity.

Some smartphones allow you to have Dual SIM, meaning you can use multiple SIM cards and/or eSIMs simultaneously. This way you can have two numbers on one device (i.e. a work number and a personal number) and for travelers who wish to connect to a local network abroad.

In 2018 Apple launched its first Dual SIM smartphone with the release of the iPhone XR. Since then, all Apple devices have SIM and eSIM capabilities (depending on the market). 

The iPhone 14 was the first smartphone with eSIM-only, and was launched in the United States. With the eSIM technology growing in popularity, other providers such as Samsung, Google, Motorola, and Microsoft have launched their own devices with eSIM technology. 

What Is eSIM?

More and more people are traveling around the globe and we all want to stay connected while traveling. We all have our favorite apps for social media, postings, video clips, staying in contact with family & friends, keeping up-to-date with everything that goes on around the world. 

An eSIM (embedded SIM) is a type of SIM card that is built into a device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch device. Unlike a traditional physical SIM card, which is a small removable chip, an eSIM is embedded directly into the device’s hardware. 

One of the key benefits of an eSIM is that it eliminates the need for a physical SIM card slot, which can save space in smaller devices and allow for more streamlined designs. Additionally, eSIMs can be programmed remotely, meaning that they can be activated and configured over the air without the need for physical swapping or installation of a SIM card. 

eSIMs also allow for more flexible mobile plans, as users can switch carriers or plans without needing to physically swap SIM cards. This can be especially useful for international travel, as users can switch to a local carrier or data plan without needing to purchase a new SIM card. 

How can you get an eSIM?

With Red Bull MOBILE, you can choose from a variety of eSIM plans, available for more than 60 countries worldwide.

Here is the important thing!

With most eSIMs, you can access many apps and websites as long as there are no restrictions from the app or website you wish to use.

Some apps or websites add their own restrictions, some of these are due to proxy settings, security protocols, location/service provider restrictions.

Due to the app or website security settings, they might not be accessible. It might also depend where you purchased your eSIM. Certain apps might be restricted because of where you purchased your eSIM from, depending where that company is registered at. Security restrictions might apply. 

With the use of eSIM you can roam around the world and avoid high roaming costs. You could purchase a physical SIM card in the country you are traveling to, but you need to find a location for a distributor. At the end of your trip you will most likely throw the SIM card away and generate more waste. 

eSIM offers you not only cost and environmental benefits. You can activate eSIM directly on your device without having to drive to a store or wait for a SIM card to be mailed. You no longer have to figure out the correct SIM card size or struggle to insert it into the device.

With the use of eSIM you no longer have to swap out multiple SIM cards if you want  to change plans. You can simply do that in your settings, directly on your device. 

With an eSIM from Red Bull MOBILE you will be covered in over 60 countries and never have to worry about running out of data.

How does an eSIM from Red Bull MOBILE work and how do you get it? 

First, check if your system is compatible with eSIM. 

Download the Red Bull MOBILE Data app to see if your device is eSim compatible. You can also check if your smartphone is supported by looking up the settings:

iOS devices: Go to Settings > Mobile Data or Cellular Data, if you have the Add Mobile Plan or Add Data Plan option, your iPhone supports eSIMs.

Supported devices include iPhone XS, XR and newer models

Android devices: Go to Settings > Connections > SIM card manager. If you have the “Add mobile plan” option, your smartphone supports eSIMs.

The majority of newer Android smartphones are supported including the Samsung Galaxy S20 or newer models, Google Pixel 3 or newer models, Huawei P40 and many more.

Once you have checked if your system is compatible you will then set up your eSIM.

Start the app and follow the instructions to set up an eSIM on your smartphone.

After your eSIM is set up you will select your destination and your bundle.

Choose the plan that suits you best and buy your eSIM card directly in the app. The first 100MB are completely free of charge!

When your plan is activated you can roam the world and surf like a local.

Your physical SIM will stay connected and your Red Bull MOBILE eSIM will too — they work simultaneously. You can select which of the two SIMs you want to use for data connectivity in your settings.

You can switch between different subscription profiles on your device by simply selecting the desired profile in the device’s settings. This change can be made without a physical SIM card swap.

This is a data-only plan, so there’s no need for a new phone number.

The eSIM from Red Bull MOBILE is very easy to use, but if you have questions or experience technical issues you can reach us by email or our 24 hour chat support on our website. We’re here to help.

When you’ve used up 80% of your data, we’ll let you know — so you won’t get stuck without any data. You’ll get another notification once your data has finally run out.

Using eSIM with the Red Bull MOBILE Data App for roaming offers several advantages compared to traditional physical SIM cards. Data roaming has become much easier, more efficient and cost-effective with the use of eSIM. 

Download the app and activate your eSIM before you start your trip and have instant internet connection the moment you arrive at your destination. This way you can access and enjoy all your apps as well! 


Get the Red Bull MOBILE Data App now

and be the first to experience the most convenient way of staying connected while traveling.