post

How to mod a standard DiGi SIM card to work in Apple iPad 3G

Finally, with a little mod to the DiGI standard prepaid internet SIM card, I could surf the net and read my emails with my iPad anywhere with 3G coverage in Malaysia. (iPad is not officially launched in Malaysia yet)

The iPad has been a phenomenal success for Apple thus far. 3 million iPad sold in 80 days? That’s insane! Although it has not been officially launched in Malaysia, many Malaysians who traveled abroad have bought up the iPad like there is no tomorrow. A recent visit to Starbucks outlets around Kuala Lumpur has proven that the iPad is quite common in Malaysia now.

Not many people like to access the internet or read their email on a tiny Blackberry or Apple 3Gs screen. It’s too small for me too and I rather lug around a notebook for that. That’s why when the iPad was launched, it was an instant “must have” device for me. I have been using it at Starbucks and other WiFi spots around KL for more than a month now. I find the device very useful especially for accessing websites, subscription for magazines, playing games, e-mailing, music, e-reading, and not to mention the thousands of apps that are available for download now. I have even moved and edited some of my Words and Excel files on the iPad’s apps like Pages and Numbers. It is truly a multipurpose device suitable for just about everyone!

This little devise is really useful when it’s connected to the internet. However for places with no WiFi or unstable WiFI, it’s usage are basically limited to music listening, games playing or books reading. And since the iPad will not be launched in Malaysia anytime soon, I don’t think Maxis or DiGi will issue or make available the new Micro SIM (3ff) card for Malaysians any time soon. For the early adopters or the die-hard Apple fans like me, there are 2 options available. It’s either we wait for a few more moons for the new Micro SIM (3ff) card to be made available by the respective mobile carriers or we can cheat a little by doing a mod job on the existing standard SIM (2g) card.

One can search the internet to find the many ways how people are doing the mod job on the standard SIM to fit the iPad’s Micro SIM tray. As for me, I am using the free and maybe the easiest way to do the mod job: just use a pencil, pen knife and a pair of scissors. If you are interested to find out how, just follow the direction on the few accompanying photos here. It’s a walk in the park.

The cheapest (not true anymore) option for mobile broadband access in Malaysia is to get this DiGi prepaid Internet kit that is available for RM25 at most DiGi product and service retailers. If you are a tourist going to Malaysia, this option is heaven-sent, just for your travel convenience! UPDATE in Feb 2012: This Digi Internet kit is sold at RM35 in Low Yat Plaza. I am not sure whether Digi has increase the price or whether their unscrupulous dealers are fleecing their customers. But beware! Anyway, you now have the option to buy Maxis prepaid internet SIM pack at RM20 for 3 days of usage. It comes with 2GB data and the 3G coverage nationwide is way better than DiGi and the download speed is superb! Way to go Maxis!

Shown here is the cutout of the standard DiGi SIM (2g) card.

Left: The standard SIM (2g - 15 x 25 mm) card. Middle: The new Micro SIM (3ff - 12 x 15 mm) card. Right: The iPad's SIM tray.

Firstly, make sure to align the 2 middle lines on the Micro SIM against the left side of the standard SIM. Next place the Micro SIM on top of the standard SIM and use a pencil to trace the smaller outline on top of the standard SIM. Lastly use a pair of scissors to cut away the unwanted real estate of the standard SIM. Note: The Micro SIM card shown above is shipped together with your new iPad.

Above Left: This is what you get after all your cutting effort. Use a pen knife to trim and shave off some of the unwanted plastic edges of the new SIM card and you should get a perfect-fit Micro SIM for the iPad's tray. Lastly, just insert the tray with the Micro SIM into your iPad and viola, you iPad is now powered by DiGi 3G! Note: Make sure you go to Cellular Data>APN Settings>APN = 3gdgnet

Comments

  1. thanks for sharing

    • You are welcome.

      Note: For Maxis users, you could get the Micro Sim from Maxis KLCC now. So don’t bother with cutting up your standard SIM.

  2. Superb! Thx 😉

  3. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with
    your blog.

  4. hi, can digi simcard cut with simcard cutter??? will it damage after cut?

  5. Yes, the micro SIM card cutter is designed to convert the standard SIM to micro SIM. You can do it at DiGi or Maxis if you do not already have their micro SIM.

  6. will it damage my current simcard?? coz it will be cut a little bit chip of my simcard… it is not a problems?

  7. Hi,

    Just wondering for digi prepaid broadband, after we cut the sim how do we folio the credit later? Do we need an iPhone 4 for it? 🙂

    • Shooq,
      Good questions…. 🙂 You most likely could not put back the excess plastic once you cut it off with a pair of scissors.

      You can do it via 2 ways:
      1. If you have another DiGi mobile phone line (iPhone 4, BB Torch, Galaxy S, Wildfire, Backflip, Frontflip, etc) you can top up your DiGi prepaid broadband credit by sending this text & numbers from your phone: *123*1111222233334444*0141234567# where 1111222233334444 is the 16-digit printed number given when you purchase the top-up credit for your DiGi prepaid broadband and 0141234567 is your DiGi prepaid broadband mobile number.

      2. You could purchase a ready-made Micro-SIM to standard SIM adapter. I found this adapter at epiCentre @ Pavilion. You could probably find this adapter in Low Yat Plaza too. RM20 for a set of 2 is quite reasonable a price. Have fun with your new gadget!

  8. Is that mean I can take out the sim card from my usb broadband & cut to the microsim size & use it in my 3G ipad? Is it going to connect automatically?

    • Technically speaking, yes. The standard SIM card is the same whether it’s used in the USB (HSPA) broadband, MiFi (E5832), pre-paid broadband or post-paid voice with broadband.

      So before you start cutting ’em up, make sure you know the APN settings and the method you are going to reload them (call credits), if required.

      Well, if you damage it in the cutting up process, you can always bring back to your favorite mobile provider and ask for a replacement SIM. Be prepared to pay a replacement fee though. 🙂

      But if you are skeptical, you can always sign up for something like the “you complete me, I complete you” tablet data package….. 😀

      • And yes, it will connect automatically if the SIM card can support data broadband provided you input the APN settings in the iPad’s cellular data page. (As per my illustration above)

  9. Efren Lomza says:

    It’s a great site, I was looking for something like this.

  10. Hi, can I quote some of the content found in this entry if I provide a link back to your site?

  11. Hi need a lil help here..i juz got myself a samsung galaxy s n im trying to put my usb broadband sim into the phone.my intention is to use the sim as my internet dataplan.now the problem now is i dont know the apn setting for the phone.fyi, im using a maxis broadband advanced lite plan.any help is very much appreciated.tq

    • adil,
      I have not configured any Maxis broadband settings on my phone before although I am using an iPhone 4 from Maxis. You may want to try out the following APN settings. I think Maxis have different APN settings for different broadband packages. If all else fails you may want to call their Tech Support.

      1. Insert the Hotlink SIM into a HSPA Modem or a HSPA enabled
      mobile phone and configure to the setting below:
      APN: unet
      Number to dial: *99#
      User ID: maxis
      Password: wap

      2. Try APN = bbnet; number to dial: *99#

      3. Try APN = maxisbb; number to dial: *99#

      Technically this should work provided the APN setting is correct. So far I have managed to use DiGi post-paid SIM on the Huawei E5832 Wireless Router (aka MiFi) without any problems as I knew the APN settings. However to do the reverse, putting a data SIM on a Mobile phone that support voice + data, I am not so sure. Maybe I will try it later. Good luck to you. 🙂

  12. Can I sign up for Digi’s SmartPhone RM68 postpaid plan and cut the sim etc and enjoy UNLIMITED broadband on the ipad?

    • Technically yes. I sometimes insert my normal DiGi post-paid SIM into my MiFi device and it works fine. But I think it would be cheaper if you sign up just for broadband usage for your iPad.

  13. Dear Davis, i’ve follow ur instruction including fill the APN. everything going well, the sign of 3G digi is appear at the left corner. but when the conecction still not there, i can not open safari , the notice” could not activate cellular data network” is appear. Please help me on this thing
    Many thanks

    • fatur,
      If the 3G sign appears on the left hand corner of the iPad, it shows that the device recognize the mobile network. Since I do not know what type of mobile package or SIM card you are using, I can only speculate the possible source of problems:

      1. If you are using prepaid broadband, your credit in the card is zero or already expired. You would need to top up the credit.
      2. Your SIM card does not support broadband usage. Highly unlikely.
      3. Your APN setting is not correct. Recheck.
      4. Sometime the APN setting disappear without any reason. So you got to retype in the setting. It happen to me a few times.
      5. Re-sit the SIM card in the SIM tray.

      Good luck.

      • Davie
        1. it is not zero, I using digi prepaid internet, and this is the new sim card, should be have the balance for 5 days.
        2. I have check and re write the APN, seem its correct.
        any solution?

        many thanks

        • fatur,
          If all else fails…. then you should bring your SIM card to DiGi. They may not entertain you as you may have already massacred the SIM card, but what’s there to lose? They may be able to diagnose your problem. I am sure DiGI wouldn’t want to market a pre-paid broadband package that doesn’t work, right? Good luck!

      • I don’ know,how to open my simcard.where the place my ipad3.

  14. Thanks a lot! ^~^ this really help me, n does anyone know how to make folder in ipad? like a game folder, application folder.bcause i can’t make one n it is really messy~

    • 1. Just press on any APP for a few seconds and the iPad screen will go into edit mode.
      2. Drag one of your game APP on top of another APP.
      3. iPad is smart enough to create a folder named Games with both the APPs already saved in the folder.
      4. Then you can drag the rest of the game APPs into the newly created folder.
      5. You can change the name of the folder if you go into edit mode again.

      I hope that’s the answer you are looking for. 🙂

  15. If i cut the sim card and wanted to use it in my broadband (normal sim card), what can I do? thanksss.

    • Yap,
      If you have converted your standard SIM into micro SIM and you would like to use it again in a standard SIM slot, you can use a special (micro SIM to standard SIM) adapter that you can purchase from Low Yat Plaza or from any online retailer. Just google it and you should find what you are looking for. I have seen it at EPI Centre in Pavilion before. Cost: about RM 20 for a set of 2.

  16. How to open my simcard from ipad3..

  17. I will be leaving for Kuala Lumpur this coming Monday, I note that Digi offers Hotlink starter prepaid data card for RM5 with 50 MB, can I use it in my new iPad straight away? also can I buy it and its topup ticket at any petrol kiosk?

    • I am not sure about the RM5 prepaid data card for 50MB…. but if they do offer this option… you will most definitely be able to purchase the top up ticket at any 7-11, petrol kiosk or any mom & pop convenience stores. Cheers!

      • Blue Angel says:

        Hello Davie. I just received a Nokia 208 Dual sim. The problem is that in my we are using a standard sim card and this new phone is using 2G or 3G Micro sim. My question: is it possible to use this phone with a standard sim card? Please I need your help. Thank u

        • You could just cut the standard SIM, like the example above to Micro SIM size and you would be good to go. 🙂

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