Though they may look similar, SIM cards are utilized for different purposes. The most common type, since their inception, are voice SIM cards. This sort of SIM card is mostly used in mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. This form is nothing more than a SIM card that provides services of voice calling, though no longer exclusively. Modern voice SIMs go a step further to offer text and data services too. Hence, they are now popularly known as voice+data or simply mobile SIM cards. That brings to data SIM cards, which are the second-most frequently used kind. Let’s go over both types and their comparison.
How is a data SIM different from a voice SIM?
A data SIM card, as the name suggests, provides only mobile data. You cannot make or receive calls and there is no texting (SMS/MMS) available, either. Such SIM cards are primarily used for broadband dongles. However, you can use them on mobile phones and tablets too. In contrast, voice SIMs are primarily employed for voice calls and texts. However, because cellular data is so desired these days, almost all voice SIMs provide data plans as well. You can learn more about data-only SIM cards before you proceed.
Can a SIM card be voice-only?
Technically, the answer is yes, but these kinds of SIM cards are rare nowadays. There was a time mobile phones could only make and receive voice calls and no other feature was available. In that era, SIMs were voice-only as there was no use for mobile phones but to make and receive calls on the go. These days, SIM cards perform many more functions than their older counterparts. Modern mobile SIM cards have to function in tandem with current smartphones. Although some travel SIMs and custom SIM cards may avail of the voice-only function, these are hardly preferred.
Sizes of a voice SIM card
Mobile or Voice SIMs are usually available in three different sizes, i.e., 2FF (mini-SIM), 3FF (micro-SIM), and 4FF (nano-SIM). 4FF is the most common form factor used these days, as it is the smallest of the three. Moreover, embedded SIMs (eSIMs) will be the next big thing. They are ingrained into the device during the manufacturing process. Many high-end devices use them already, e.g., the latest versions of the Apple iPhone and newer Android flagships. Therefore, physical SIM cards likely won’t be available on the market in the future. Once again, mobile SIMs are designed to be compatible with devices that will use them, and for the latest phones, nano-SIM is the norm.
Benefits of voice SIMs over data-only SIMs
There are many perks of voice+data SIMs. The following are some major advantages of voice SIMs cards over a data-only SIM:
- Voice SIMs offer data packages along with voice and text services while data-only SIMs allow only data bundles.
- Voice SIM bundles are cheaper than their data-only counterparts.
- The number of voice SIMs is vastly higher compared to data ones. Hence, users get better network coverage across the world.
- In countries like India, voice SIM bundles offer data at cheaper rates than the data bundles from the latter type.
- Voice SIM card kits are available in a 3-in-1 combo which means you can snap out the size of the SIM card you want. This option is mostly not available in data-only SIM cards.
- With the advent of 4G and 5G technology, the data speed of a voice SIM is almost on par with the speed of a data-only SIM. Consequently, the difference in user experience isn’t significant.
With everything neatly explained about this kind of SIM in this article, you can clearly understand what a voice SIM is and how it differs from some other type of SIM card. The mobile telephone business is continuously growing at a rapid pace and hence the voice+data SIM market will develop to keep up with the demand and request for new features. These SIMs may change their size and form over time, but will most likely stay as long as there are mobile phones out there.