SIMalliance members report shipments of 4.9bn SIMs in 2017, while estimated SIM market increases to 5.6bn units

Remy Cricco chairman of SIMalliance

Data reported by SIMalliance shows that the collective SIM shipments of its members in 2017, which represented approximately 88% of the global SIM market, equalled 4.9 billion units. SIMalliance confirms that over the same period, the estimated total available global market for SIM cards has grown by 2.75%, with units rising from 5.45 billion to 5.6 billion.

The strongest annual shipment* advances were seen in the Americas, where units increased by 4% to 813 million. The move back to positive growth in the region follows a period of stability between 2015-16 and was largely driven by demand for technically advanced, high-end SIM products and continued LTE migration. In 2017, annual shipments within North America rose by 7% driven by the ramp up of machine-to-machine (M2M) deployments in the region. Growth was also evident in South America (including Brazil), with an increase in units shipped of 2.5%.

A 2% overall gain in Asia strengthened the global picture in 2017, with 2.58 billion units shipped. This is the highest level ever reported in the region. As with the Americas, increases in Asia are attributed to advanced technology trends, such as growth in M2M deployments in China and continued regional LTE expansion.

China rebounded from the adverse impact of regulation and an uncertain economic climate to report significant growth of 25.5%. Market expansion was also reported across Japan / Korea and Indonesia. Throughout 2017, stabilisation was observed in India, as the market returns to normal demand following exceptionally high levels of shipments in 2016 created by a number of LTE launches by multiple mobile network operators (MNOs).

The impact of regulation requiring ID verification for new MNO subscriptions continued to be felt in 2017, particularly in specific European, Middle Eastern and Asian countries. While regulation may continue to affect volumes in some domestic markets throughout 2018, the recovery in recent years of key markets following regulation-induced contractions – such as China and India – evidences the capability for market corrections and growth following such periods.

Volumes across Europe remained static in 2017 at 417 million units. Stability in such a mature market, with high levels of smartphone penetration and subscriber acquisition, is expected.

Significant demand for Triple SIM products continued in 2017, with volumes now representing over three quarters of all global shipments. The considerable supply chain efficiencies and flexibility delivered by this form factor, which can be used in many device types and remains OEM agnostic, suggest that the Triple SIM will continue to account for an increasing proportion of total shipments in 2018.

Global shipments of cards that can be used in LTE networks rose by 21.5% to 1.7 billion units as migration to 4G networks continued throughout 2017. While all regions reported growth, there was no change from 2016 in the rank order of the four largest markets. Greater China remained the largest LTE SIM card market in 2017 with 395 million units. India retained its position as the second largest market with 390 million units. South America, including Brazil, was again the third largest market (286 million units), followed by North America (149 million units).

A 106% annual increase in shipment volumes of soldered SIMs designed specifically for M2M applications (M2M MFF2 including some remote subscription provisioning capable products) reflects an acceleration in the growth rate of the global M2M market.

The future opportunities here are significant; of particular note in the coming year and beyond is the trend towards connected cars and the role that embedded SIM (eSIM) technology will play in enabling the evolution of the automotive industry. In Europe, for example, all new cars are mandated to be equipped with eSIMs from April 2018, to enable delivery of the eCall initiative.

To date, while eSIM technology is predominantly used in connected M2M deployments, it has also been deployed in a number of high profile consumer devices such as smart watches and tablets, where miniaturisation of the SIM and remote subscription management capabilities are required. The expected growth of connected consumer devices in the years ahead offers further potential for market expansion.

“The continued growth of the total available SIM market, despite continued regulation challenges, is welcome news,” comments Remy Cricco, SIMalliance chairman. “These are transformational years for the global SIM industry as our technology and ecosystem evolve rapidly to serve an increasingly connected digital world, with unprecedented security requirements.”

Remy continues: “Technology advances and continued LTE migration continue to be the key growth drivers globally, contributing to the largest total available SIM market ever reported last year. We can also see that an increasing number of M2M deployments is generating new demand in some key markets, such as China and North America.

A healthy traditional SIM market offers a solid foundation for further expansion in line with the vast opportunities across new use cases which present the industry with significant growth potential in years ahead.”

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow OR @jcIoTnow

FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more
RECENT ARTICLES

Nozomi Networks and Tripwire announce strategic partnership

Posted on: September 17, 2021

Nozomi Networks Inc., the provider of OT and IoT security, and Tripwire, a global provider of security and compliance solutions for enterprises and industrial organisations, announced they have partnered to help organisations lower cyber risk with consistent security controls that span their IT, OT and IoT environments.

Read more

RightIndem deploys enterprise-grade conversational AI to simplify customer claims process

Posted on: September 17, 2021

RightIndem, an global insurance technology company, has worked with Bristol-based Amdaris to simplify its customer onboarding process via developing enterprise-grade conversational Artificial Intelligence experiences.

Read more