Vodacom to offer new micro Sims - TechCentral

Vodacom to offer new micro Sims

The 3G version of Apple’s iPad tablet computer went on sale in the US this week and, like the Wi-Fi-only version released last month, it’s likely to be snapped up by eager early adopters in SA even though the product isn’t sold locally.

There’s just one problem: the 3G iPad (pictured) doesn’t use regular-issue Sim cards. Instead, Apple has adopted a new-format Sim known as a “micro Sim”.

Though a micro Sim holds the same amount of information as regular mini Sims, it’s smaller (15x12mm versus 25x15mm) and so is not physically compatible. Micro Sims also offers security features and functionality not found in mini Sims.

Apple’s decision to use micro Sims has led some SA consumers to consider measures like filing down larger Sims so they fit the 3G iPad, which is imported by online shops such as Wantitall and Have2have.

Current-generation mini Sim and the next-generation micro Sim (click to enlarge)

The good news is that consumers won’t need to resort to extreme measures like this.

Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys says the cellular operator has imported about 10 000 of the new micro Sims to cater for anticipated demand from SA consumers.

Uys says that although the micro Sims won’t be available in all Vodacom retail outlets — at least not immediately — they can be delivered to customers on request.

He says Vodafone’s MiFi device, a separate, battery-powered 3G modem that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot, has proved popular for consumers who have bought the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad.

Vodacom spokesman Nicolene Visser says the micro Sims, also known as “third form factor” Sims, will be available “towards the end of May”.

MTN had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

  • Mini and micro Sim image credit: Justin Ormont


  1. Oh no please dont let Vodacom sell these devices. They will tie you into lengthy contracts. Rather buy them without contract and purchase prepaid data.

  2. Brian Pinnock on

    Even easier solution. Get an app on your smartphone that turns it into a WiFi hotspot/3G router. I have tested JoikuSpot on a Nokia E71 with a WiFi iPad (there’s a free open version if you are brave) and it works perfectly. No dual contracts because you use the same 3G contract that you have for your mobile.

  3. @RiaanWest and @Brian: I’ve had pretty poor performance dialling up to 3G via my Nokia E71 and more recently my E72. I’m told this is because the phone does everything it can to conserve battery life, whereas the MiFi is optimised through raw throughput. Comments?

  4. Brian Pinnock on

    Duncan, I can’t give a very technical response as to which is the better approach dialing 3G from a Nokia or using a seperate device. My personal experience has been fine so far. But that’s only 2 days in and around Bryanston. Need to test in Cape Town as well. A proper technical bake off would settle the issue technically. My personal preference is not to carry a third device around. Also worth checking if your Symbian OS is up to date…. dial *#0000# sometimes makes a big difference.

  5. The only reason Vodacom has been importing the micro-sim is that the next iPhone will be using it as well as the iPad. Seems they’re just stocking up for the June announcement and subsequent sale of the newest iPhone