DiGi Prepaid DIY nano sim

Since getting an iPhone, I was forced to look for nano SIMs but I'm a prepaid user and majority of local telcos are hesitant to provide a nano SIM unless you sign up for a postpaid package (money sucking tactics). There were two ways to get around it - first is to get a nano SIM cutter or at least someone who has it to cut the standard mini SIM . Buying a cutter is useless because I only need one card (I'm not opening a phone store) so wasting RM17 (cheapest I could find) for a single use item was out of the question. There were some shop/stalls offering the cutting service at a few ringgit but I never had my phone with me at those times.

So, I had to resort to cutting my own. After reading many horror stories about failed cuts online and other advice, I was initially hesitant ... but eventually, I took a leap of faith and cut my own since I basically had no choice. Here's what I did ...

Get a template - there are various templates you can print out to get cutting guidelines. Find one that you feel comfortable with and works with your printer and paper size. I used this one here. [UPDATE Sept 2014 - link is dead, search google for "nano sim template"]

Before doing the actual cut, I tried out on several expired SIM cards I had on hand for practice - I tested a Celcom xPax mini SIM, TMobile micro SIM, Optus mini SIM and Starhub mini SIM. It is easiest if you have a micro SIM (image top right) but it works just as well with mini SIMs (image top left) - with micro you don't cut across the gold contact points but you have to with a mini. Ask around for unused SIMs or mobile phone vendors if you wish to get some practice before hand.

The final cut was made on the DiGi prepaid mini SIM. All five attempts worked out fine anyways with a 100% hand-cut success rate.

My advice for those wanting to try manual SIM cutting - make sure your cutting tool is sharp and strong. Flimsy school paper scissors will NOT work. Large heavy duty cutters may work but are unwieldy and may block your sight from cutting on the correct line. To test your scissors, try sticking a piece of tape onto both sides of an expired credit card (or any SIMilar thickness plastic card) and test on that. The scissors should cut through the tape layers and the card between neatly with pulling or stretching the tape. If at any point this fails, you may want to look for a different tool.

The SIM standard specs are pretty forgiving and you can actually overcut (or undercut) quite a lot and the SIM will continue to work. The problem with overcutting is that the SIM will be smaller than the official nano SIM size and will not fit in the tray properly (this will make removal and insertion very difficult). So you could always UNDERcut and then sand the edges to size if you're worried. I overcut the Starhub card I tested with in the picture above and ended up with a nano SIM too small for the iPhone tray ... the SIM card still works on other phones if I tape it to the contacts though.

The thickness is the relatively same for most of the cards I tested so no sanding was necessary except for one which was ever so slightly thicker. YMMV

Disclaimer: Any attempts at cutting your SIM card are at your own risk. Cutting your SIM card may destroy it, damage your handset and void your handset's warranty and I will not be held responsible.
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