New gadget clones cell phone SIM cards

Von Lawrence Casiraya

HERE?S great news for obsessive and compulsive mobile phone users. A nifty gadget that instantly ?clones? your precious SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card, including phone book and text messages, is now in the market.

MySIMcopier acts as a SIM card reader that can copy phone book and SMS data from an old SIM to a new one.

Weighing about 40 grams, the device is small enough to fit into any pocket. Shaped like an inverted triangle, the palm-sized gadget features a large screen and a 13-key keyboard interface that can be used to key in a personal identification number (PIN) and other data. It has a tray-like aperture that, when plugged in on top, can take in two standard-sized SIM cards.

The left slot is for the original SIM card, while the right slot is for a new SIM card, which comes with the MySIMcopier package. (For the directionally impaired, don?t sweat because the slots are marked ?old? and ?new.?) The software first checks the contents of the SIM card on the left and once found ?non-empty,? the cloning process starts.

MySIMcopier holds true to its promise of creating an instant duplicate of your SIM card, which is mainly the only thing it can do. Unlike most of today?s mobile devices, it does not have a built-in hard drive where you can store you phone book contacts and text messages and retrieve them when needed, or in case you need to change to a new SIM card.

MySIMcopier is a product of European manufacturer GemPlus International SA, which makes smartcards, including SIM cards used by mobile operators worldwide. SIM cards used by Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are manufactured at the company?s facilities in Singapore, according to Chou Fang Soong, managing director of GemPlus Technologies Asia.

MySIMcopier is sold in Singapore for roughly S$30 (US$18.20), which includes a 32K byte SIM card. It can duplicate higher-capacity SIM cards, but you have to pay more for one that comes with a 64K byte SIM card, for example.

In a meeting with Computerworld Philippines, Soong said the product was already introduced to mobile operators, but local players did not make any commitments. The product would probably compete with the operators? services, including one that lets the user send and store as many contacts in the operator?s database and retrieve them anytime for a fee.

Soong said his company is looking to introduce MySIMcopier to independent over-the-counter retailers.