The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has announced a new nano-SIM format today. Agreed at a meeting held this week in Japan, the new form factor will be 40 percent smaller than the current micro-SIM format — measuring 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. Nano-SIMs will also be packaged in a way that allows them to be backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs.

A number of proposals had been discussed, resulting in conflict between the major mobile manufacturers. Motorola, Nokia, and RIM, all opposed a design put forward by Apple — arguing their design is technically superior and less likely to cause handset damage when inserted. We spoke to the ETSI this morning to question which format was successful and the company said the following:

"We don't communicate the specific details of how the decision was arrived at or which proposal was chosen. We now have an ETSI standardized format for 4FF. It's no longer a question of one company or another, the industry has collectively made a decision."

Unfortunately, both Apple's design and the more recent Motorola / RIM compromise design are exactly the same exterior dimensions — the only difference is that the update submitted by Apple's competitors includes an extra notch to enable so-called "push-push" mechanisms in SIM slots that wouldn't necessitate a tray. Until ETSI publishes the specs, we won't know which of the two was chosen.

Thanks, Prodan!