Wondering about the uses of a SIM card? There are a few, which is incredible seeing how small they are. Even better, they are cross-platform and used on both devices using stock/modified Android and iPhones/iPads using iOS. That makes things easier to explain for us, and the card itself to use. Unless a lot of time has passed between the release date of two devices, you don’t have to purchase a new one while upgrading. You will also discover that not every device requires a SIM card either. Without further ado, let’s delve into the answer to the question – what is a SIM card used for?
1. A SIM card is used for providing an identity on a mobile network
The name, Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) says it all. It gives you a distinct identity and provides authentication on a mobile network. It allows you to make calls, send an SMS or an MMS, and use mobile data to get access to the Internet in an area covered by the network. The same things allow the carrier to keep track of your activities, and bill you at the end of the month. Without it, you would be able to install and use certain applications, surf the Internet via a wireless network or a public hotspot, and use a camera and storage. This applies to the devices built to work on a GSM network.
Exclusion to the rule
Not all carriers use SIM cards to give your device identity. Some devices ship to you configured to use a CDMA network. In that case, the data is stored in the device itself. Your account has to be activated following the steps outlined by the mobile carrier that sold it. It should be obvious what the flaw is already. We’ll say that the issue has been worked on. The product of that effort is a card named Removable User Identity Module (R-UIM). It’s very similar to a SIM card and will also work on a device using a GSM network.
2. SIM card stores contacts and messages
The big advantage of devices using a GSM network is that you can switch SIM cards at will. And because a SIM card can store about 250 contacts and a few text messages, this gives you the versatility of changing devices often. Additionally, the chip itself is the same size on the biggest, full-size SIM cards, and the smallest, nano-SIM cards. As long as the plastic around it is cut down to size, you can replace an old device for the newest smartphone without worrying about your address book.
3. Prepaid SIM cards can be used for burner phones
Obviously, you can purchase a cheap, disposable phone. Then, insert a secondary SIM card, prepaid if possible. Now, you can use it to hide your identity and make “anonymous” calls or texts.
4. SIM cards can be used as a wireless Internet hotspot
Did you forget that a SIM card gives access to the Internet through mobile data? With that, it can be used as a hotspot for your main device to connect to. There are also separate devices, known as portable routers or simply hotspot devices, sold by the carriers with an accompanying subscription plan. This enables you to use the Internet while away from home – on the road, on a backpacking trip, while camping, etc.
Now you know what SIM card is used for. As long as you know how to remove a SIM card and insert it into another device, the possibilities are vast.