114 million eSIMS shipped in 2018 to connect consumer and M2M IoT devices; first eSIM volumes highlight emergence of new connectivity markets that complement demand for traditional SIM products.
SIMalliance, the non-profit association which represents the global SIM industry, confirms that SIM unit shipments remained at unsurpassed volumes in 2018, with an estimated 5.6 billion units shipped worldwide. The same volume was shipped in 2017. SIMalliance confirms that its estimated total for the SIM market in 2018 includes 114 million eSIM shipments. eSIM data was reported collectively by SIMalliance members throughout last year.
This is the first time that SIMalliance has reported data that provides an insight into the size of the eSIM market. The significant footprint of the organisation’s membership across the eSIM landscape results in the data providing the first credible quantitative indication of eSIM uptake globally.
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.
Remy Cricco, SIMalliance Chairman, comments: “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.
“This is a very important milestone for the industry. Alongside a very strong and stable traditional SIM market, we can now see new connectivity needs creating early demand for additional eSIM solutions. SIM vendors in the future will increasingly focus on the business growth opportunities that exist in the provision of personalisation, lifecycle management and security services for eSIMs in a growing number of connected IoT and M2M devices. As an organisation we look forward to sharing more insight with the industry on eSIM technology as we anticipate continued growth in deployments throughout 2019.”
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.
A breakdown of shipment data collected through SIMalliance’s member SIM marketing monitoring process is available via an annual subscription. For more information, please contact secretariat @simalliance.org.