back to article Weeny SIM Wi-Fi hotspot is here! But why?

Another attempt to add value to the diminutive GSM SIM sees Sagem Orga squeezing an entire Wi-Fi hotspot into a SIM card - we're just not sure why. SIMFi, as the product has been named, is a normal SIM card usable in any handset, but it also packs 802.11 Wi-Fi that can enable any 3G handset to operate as a hotspot sharing its …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Nice work, but not the point

    Apparently the chips that make up a SIM have become powerful enough to sport teenie little extra programs that can do quite a lot, including leveraging a teenie extra bit of RF hardware stuffed in the same teenie chunk of plastic.

    This means two things: One, it can be horribly abused. Two, there is no longer any excuse for not making systems so that they're much harder to abuse.

    Most new such mobile systems, including identity and payment systems, near field stuff, oyster type cards, RFIDed passports, even simple entry systems, are positively shoddy with sensitive personal user data. Especially banks are notorious in expecting you not to look beyond their expensive corporate fronts. And instead of reinventing the wheel ever more squarely, we could employ some math of the ``zero knowledge proofs'' type to hide work with that sensitive information without spreading it to all and sundry, wirelessly. And now we have clear indications that the hardware, down to the smallest SIM, is up to it.

    So there no longer is any excuse to fuck up as much as we, our banks, our carriers, and our governments, do.

    It's the one with the wires sticking out the arms, thanks.

    1. Boring Bob


      "And instead of reinventing the wheel ever more squarely, we could employ some math of the ``zero knowledge proofs'' type to hide work with that sensitive information"

      What do you think the cryptographers in the smartcard industry spend their days doing?

  2. TRT Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    When you hear the pips...

    Well, I dunno. Maybe it would enable someone with an unlimited data tariff to create a local WiFi network so that a budget WiFi internet device could piggyback onto it, rather than, say, forking out for an overpriced 3G option.

  3. Sohail Hussain

    Ideal solution (if it works)

    Not convinced? This is ideal for sharing a dumb phone's network connection with a laptop (without resorting to slow bluetooth tethering) or an ipod touch. In the latter case, the only mobile option (without resorting to Wi-Fi hotspots) is to get a MIFI, but that requires a separate data contract - why would I want that when I've already got one on my phone?

  4. Andrew Oakley


    And this has an advantage over the existing, working, popular Joiku Spot app how?

    1. Mat Stace

      Because some people live in the past.

      Yes, that's right. There are some people in the world who have phones without wifi.

      Although the sort of person that has a smartphone without wifi, or a dumbphone without a data plan probably wouldn't be the sort of person to want this.

      Anyone who doesn't want to be bothered with pulling out their phone to turn on an app such as Joiku Spot, or anyone who has a phone which doesn't play nicely with multi-tasking, however...

  5. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Possible application...

    I would much rather see the SIM allow my WiFi-less phones to connect to a WiFi network. Screw sharing my connection, which I can already do with Bluetooth. I do like the idea of a GPS receiver on the SIM, provided my phone would actually be able to access it. I have to see if I can pick up one of these gems somewhere and convince AT&T to activate it.

    Paris, another gem.

  6. Neal 5

    v. handy

    if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and need internet access on your netbook so urgently that you should never have left suburbia in the first place. Of course, I'm sure, a simple telephone call could be just as useful in that situation anyway.

  7. Salim Suleman

    Could be useful

    I have used software on my Nokia N95 to turn it into a wifi hotspot and then surf the net on my laptop while on a train - very useful. I can see this being done in hotels and other places where the wifi costs are ridiculously hi (a colleague mentioned GBP15 per day in a London hotel).

    Can be useful if you need to connect a laptop and don't have a hotspot nearby.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can see the point

    It means you could take your current mobile phone, add this sim and then your laptop and netbook and whatever else you need to carry around would be able to connect to the internet without any fuss and you could connect multiple devices at once.

    I know I'd buy it if they released it on a UK carrier.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds fantastic to me

    When travelling I'm always looking to use my phone as a modem.

    Trouble is I've either forgotten the USB cable, or never got round to installing drivers for the bluetooth gizmo. Even if I have installed the Bluetooth gizmo god only knows how you get the thing to work. If I could just have my own mini Wifi spot around my phone whether that be implemented in the phone or the sim I care not, would be very useful.

  10. SirTainleyBarking


    IIRC Texting was considered a token "Whats the point of that" when GSM mobiles first came out as well....

    I think this is a nice proof of concept of the art of the possible

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    thats what ive been using for a year already. works for me.

  12. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Don't see it myself

    Why would you want to be an actual real wi-fi hotspot? To me "hotspot" implies some degree of sharing your phone's internet connection with other people nearby. What is the point of that - they already have their own phones don't they?

    If you just want a no-wires connection from your own portable computer to your own phone to the internet then why not the time-tested "PPTP via bluetooth" which geeks have been doing for the last ten years therefore surely now mainstream?

  13. Rob Davis
    Thumb Up

    WPA security? Wireless Infrastructure Mode? On old phones?

    I agree with those here saying that it is another method to provide internet access for another device like a netbook/laptop/etc.

    Does it support secure wireless, like WPA/WPA2?

    Does it support Wireless Infrastructure Mode? Like proper hotspots do, not just Ad-hoc/Computer-to-Computer mode.

    Can this work with any old phone? Could I pop this WiFi-capable SIM into an old Nokia 3210 and use that as a WiFi hotspot. For this would the SIM use the phone's built-in antenna, or can an additional one be crammed in via the battery? If it requires a new phone with a purpose-built antenna then the scope is limited - most new phones are 3G capable anyway.

    I'd like to use it as a WiFi hotspot for my portable battery powered Revo Pico Radiostation WiFi internet radio down the allotment.

    I use Joikuspot with success, on a N95/N82, but Symbian doesn't (yet) allow it to have Wireless Infrastructure Mode, or secured WPA access. Look up my request for this feature on the Nokia Forums or on

  14. Chrome

    Already doing this

    On my WinMo phone... Got a little app that turns it into a Wifi router... I've only used it once or twice but it's come in very handy when I'm at my parents and both my gf and I need internet access (GPRS is faster than my dad's broadband and he refuses to buy a wireless router just so I can have access the cheapskate ;) )

    Having said that I can only use it in half hour blocks before the phone either needs resetting or the battery dies...

  15. M Gale

    Portable AP without a backpack and netbook?

    Mine's the one with a Droid and SimFi pretending to be "linksys" or "freewifi" and running a copy of sslstrip...

  16. Gareth Jones

    Mobile nodes for a WiFi cloud?

    I wonder how long it takes for one of the networks to deploy this and use it to host a distributed cloud of WiFi access points? You've already got a large network of OpenZone, The Cloud and T-Mobile hotspots. All the operators have to do is deploy this to a large number of "willing" participants' handsets and use HSDPA as backhaul and they're making hotspot revenue off the back of your battery-life.

  17. heyrick Silver badge

    I'd rather it worked backwards...

    Given the cost per unit of many data plans (France = OUCH!), there's no way I plan to get my computer running through my phone, no matter how useful it may seem.

    On the other hand, giving the phone WiFi connectivity to a locally-hosted server would be pretty useful for webdevs to check a page/site degrades nicely for a display of that size.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    bonded secure tunnels

    Of course Joe the next logical step would be to add a secure tunneled optional auto MESH bond to all these seperate connections and share the far wider bandwidth in a

    crowd assuming some at least are connected to other cell towers or at least a tower with enough real backhaul badwidth to make a difference.

    everyone shares the local end to end bonded tunnel over secure tunnels,simples.

    "Joe Harrison

    Don't see it myself #

    Posted Monday 15th February 2010 13:04 GMT

    Why would you want to be an actual real wi-fi hotspot? To me "hotspot" implies some degree of sharing your phone's internet connection with other people nearby. What is the point of that - they already have their own phones don't they?"

  19. Trygve

    Simpler inventory management perhaps?

    currently there seem to be a few phones around that are basically identical apart from one or two key features (i.e. model A has GPS and WiFi, B has GPS but no Wifi, C has wifi and no GPS, D has neither). If you can start cramming GPS, WiFi, memory etc into SIMs then there might be an opportunity for a carrier to just stock Model D and offer the extra features using various permutations of SIM. Since they would be model (and manufacturer) independent it could reduce the chance of getting lumbered with a lot of expensive phones no-one wants, or a shortage of particular models. Might simplify certification as well.

    No idea if it would make sense in practice, but it seems initially plausible.

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