eSIMs makes debut in 5.6 billion global SIM volume

May 09, 2019 //By Julien Happich
The SIMalliance, an association which represents the global SIM industry, released some figures about global SIM unit shipments, with an estimated 5.6 billion units shipped worldwide in 2018, stagnant from 2017. The novelty being that in 2018, this figure also includes 114 million embedded SIMs (eSIM), which the alliance says gives a first credible quantitative indication of a global eSIM uptake.

SIMalliance member data also shows that mobile network operators (MNOs), OEMs and other stakeholders who may deploy eSIMs in large quantities, such as car manufacturers and other device makers, have already made substantial investments to fully equip themselves to manage future eSIM solutions in the field.

This is evidenced by 230 eSIM Subscription Manager (SM) platforms which were deployed globally at the end of 2018. eSIM SM platforms are necessary to enable remote provisioning and lifecycle management of an eSIM product and the role of MNOs in particular in delivering these platforms and services has been critical in enabling broad connectivity across the IoT ecosystem.

“This first insight into the demand for eSIM products shows that this technology has already gone beyond the nascent phase; eSIMs are now shipping in volume, particularly in smartphones over this past year. In addition the supporting infrastructure is available and well established. This evidence aligns well with projections by industry analysts for the robust growth of eSIM deployments in the foreseeable future, driven by the use of eSIMs across applications in many consumer and machine-to-machine (M2M) verticals, such as smartphones, automotive, healthcare, transport, industry 4.0 and connected homes / cities”, commented Remy Cricco, SIMalliance Chairman.

In relation to traditional SIM products, the continuing trend for M2M deployments requiring cellular connectivity drove strong growth across the Americas and resulted in a slight increase in volumes across Western Europe. In some Asian countries, shipments were adversely impacted by macro-economic factors. In India, for example, 2018 was a year of consolidation in the mobile telecoms market, naturally affecting demand for SIM products. Equally, the relatively high pre-paid market in Indonesia meant volumes were affected by the introduction of regulation related to ID verification.

SIMalliance also reports that in 2018 the latest generation of Triple SIM and 4G SIMs accounted for 93% of all of its members’ shipments worldwide, compared to 90% in 2017.

SIMalliance -

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