Last month, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (or ETSI) gave Apple’s nano-SIM card proposal the green light. The new card offers the same functionality as current SIM cards, but take up significantly less space.

According to a new report this afternoon, European carriers are expecting Apple to utilize the new card in its upcoming smartphone. And they’ve already begun stocking up on nano-SIMs in anticipation of an early fall release…

Financial Times reports:

“Operators expect that the iPhone will feature the nano sim in a slimmed down design, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, and have begun to store millions of the cards in warehouses in anticipation of high demand for Apple’s iPhone. Apple declined to comment.

Operators were caught off guard by the adoption of the micro Sim for the iPhone 4 as well as the original iPad two years ago, with some struggling to meet demand with their own micro-Sims in the first weeks of sale.

One informed person said that the major networks were keen to be ahead of demand this time, however. He added that the iPhone 5 was likely to be similar sized as the iPhone 4 although slimmer and with a fully metal body.”

It certainly wouldn’t surprise us if these nano-SIMs turned up in this year’s iPhone. Early reports suggest that Apple has gone through great lengths to make the handset noticeably thinner than its predecessor, including trimming down its dock connector.

Recent component leaks also suggest that Apple’s new smartphone will feature the smaller SIM cards. A hands-on video of a purported back panel from the device appeared last month, depicting what appeared to be a smaller opening for a SIM card trey.

This year’s iPhone will be Apple’s sixth iteration of its popular handset. And it’s widely expected to be a significant update from the iPhone 4S, with an all-new design, larger display, and LTE compatibility.

[9to5Mac]

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