2019 in Review: eSIM Industry Insights

Global momentum continues to build for the unique ability of the eSIM to deliver flexible control and dynamic security over a connected device’s lifetime. Following a first view of eSIM shipment volumes in 2018, Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA) members have reported 169 million eSIM shipments for 2019 – marking a significant 50% year-on-year increase. In addition, Trusted Connectivity Alliance estimates that 5.05 billion SIM units shipped worldwide in 2019.[1]

eSIM: Broadening the reach and applicability of SIM technology

The strong increase in eSIM shipments was driven by various factors, which will continue to provide a foundation for robust future growth in the years ahead. A steady launch of new eSIM-enabled handsets continued throughout 2019. Dual SIM devices, which offer users the choice of eSIM and traditional SIM, are also gaining traction. This reflects a long-term trend for smartphones and will support volumes for both form factors in the years to come.

And with feedback from industry suggesting growth in uptake where eSIM is available, sustained and increasing consumer demand is anticipated as the number of enabled devices continues to rise.

Various M2M applications and verticals also contributed to the overall eSIM growth picture, with connected cars emerging as the key use-case.

eSIM: An advancing infrastructure

2019 also saw considerable ongoing investment in the infrastructure that supports eSIM deployment from mobile network operators (MNOs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other stakeholders. eSIM Subscription Manager (SM) platforms are necessary to enable the secure remote provisioning and management of an eSIM, and Trusted Connectivity Alliance members report that 270 eSIM SM platforms were deployed globally at the end of 2019.

The increasing number of IoT and M2M devices connected by eSIM technology, coupled with this advanced infrastructure, will unlock new business growth opportunities for SIM industry stakeholders, including eSIM personalisation, lifecycle management and security services.

Advances in eSIM technology: Interoperability through standardisation

Supporting the standardisation of the SIM ecosystem is critical to facilitating the continued growth of eSIM technology. Trusted Connectivity Alliance members participate collaboratively in working groups to facilitate and accelerate the delivery of trusted mobile connectivity worldwide through enabling specifications.  

Specifications developed by Trusted Connectivity Alliance are widely deployed to promote interoperable, secure and consistent remote eSIM provisioning. Key updates in 2019 saw enhancements to enable 5G support for the first time.

GSMA and Trusted Connectivity Alliance have also partnered on IoT SAFE (IoT SIM Applet For Secure End-2-End Communication), which addresses industry fragmentation by enabling IoT devices to leverage the SIM to execute security services and store credentials in a standardised way.

Towards a secure, connected future

As the SIM ecosystem advances and expands, Trusted Connectivity Alliance will continue to develop, define and influence the future technologies, standards and services that will impact the telecom industries and sectors.

Download the 2019 Industry Insights briefing note.

Trusted Connectivity Alliance is the definitive source for global shipments. Members participate in an annual shipments market monitoring process, which provides an exclusive and statistical view of the global SE/ SIM ecosystem based on members’ shipment data. Members submit shipment data (confidentially and via a blind process) on a quarterly basis. The data is made available to members, and to other parties via a subscription.

[1] Includes removable SIM and soldered SIM for M2M form factors. Excludes eSIM.