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IHS Markit: Apple, Samsung, Huawei likely to introduce eSIM in 2019

Thursday 18 May 2017

As there’s been a lot of hype around the embedded SIM (eSIM), IHS Markit, an information and analytics expertise, doesn’t see the incorporation of eSIMs into cellular handsets coming anytime soon from Tier 1 suppliers like Apple, Samsung and Huawei until 2019. Rather, eSIM incorporation is likely to happen first with Tier 2 and 3 handset suppliers as part of small-scale introductions to test the market.


Still, Don Tait, an IHS technology analyst, said in his blog that the eSIM market is on a trajectory to increase nearly 90%, from a relatively small base of 108.9 million shipments in 2016 to 986 million shipments in 2021. Most of the initial growth is in the non-handset environment, with wearables, consumer electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, where eSIM can be more easily incorporated without dealing with legacy issues. Some 3.4 billion smartphones will be compatible with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay by the end of 2017, with the number expected to increase to 5.3 billion by 2021, according to IHS Markit(cf. Smart Insights Weekly #17-19).




The GSMA announced in March 2015 that it was working with mobile network operators, mobile device manufacturers and SIM vendors to create a common, global specification for remote over-the-air provisioning and management of connectivity to consumer devices. The standardization of eSIMs is taking place in phases within the GSMA, with a third phase expected later this year.


In related news, Microsoft announced in 2016 that its platform would provide native support for the eSIM specification, and Gemalto teamed up with Microsoft to bring embedded SIM technology to Windows 10. But smartphone makers appear to be waiting for the completed standard from the GSMA.


Smart Insights has published a report on eSIM called “eSIM to reshape mobile communication”, that analyzes in detail the dynamics and the specificities of the innovative eSIM business on consumers devices. eSIM (or eUICC), an alternative form factor to a detachable SIM card is a soldered SIM card, an embedded SIM in the consumer’s device. The smart card is physically integrated into the device — i.e. it cannot be removed from the device and replaced with another SIM. More information is available at