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Secure Transactions News

SIM shipments grow 14%

Thursday 8 October 2009

In 2010, with the economic recovery led by China & India, the whole telecom market will gradually emerge from the impact of the financial crisis. While the 3G migration accelerates in Asia, organic growth is still there for China & India. SIMalliance believes that these two emerging markets should add 44 % of the world's total net additions – approximately 800 million subscribers by 2013. Mobile transformation is there, also driven by a new value chain where the end user sits at the center: multiplication of devices, services, contents etc.which creates an opportunity for Mobile Data Services deployment like, through mobile operators services portals:

  • User interface is a key concern to foster access to services & sustain mobile operators’ branding
  • SCWS(Smart Card Web Server) is starting to be considered as a key enabler for mobile operators’ services portals

New services like NFC and mobile TV are also being tested & commercially deployed by mobile operators.

Today the global mobile transformation consists in the following aspects:


  • Major network evolution (3G, 4G/LTE, LTE Advanced),
  • Mobile broadband is finally here, deployed in 90% of advanced markets,
  • Convergence is a reality (fixed-mobile, IP - TV-mobile ),
  • Smartphones have reached critical mass outselling laptops sales,
  • Open OS migration continues leading to rich application development.

Service & Contents

  • Bringing new players from the internet world eg. Apple, Google Android, Yahoo & Microsoft,
  • Mobile handsets moving towards services e.g. Nokia OVI,
  • Content originates from many sources,
  • New advertising models to monetize the customer relationship,
  • Social networking communication revolution.

Technology evolution and value added services enforce the central role of the SIM cards which is no longer a simple tool for identification but more and more present independently from the device and network as a branding services portal. SIM card technology is well positioned to grow both internally due to new technology and capabilities (with existing GSM phones), and externally with new 4G technology emerging from mobile operators. Thus, despite the large size of the SIM card market and its saturation of the GSM market, much potential for growth exists within the foreseeable future. Verizon decided to add a SIM cards in a CDMA network one year ago, a solution mainly used by China Unicom’s CDMA network so far. This is a means for operators to address non subsidized handsets, increase ARPU and to deliver services to the end user with immediate connections. Handset providers can also benefit from the reducing time to market which creates a win-win situation for all players in the SIM industry.

In terms of average memory of SIM cards, it grows from 55 kb in H1/2008 to 63kb in H1/2009,  up 13% In Asia, the average memory grows rapidly, mainly coming from India and China. This reflects the stretegy of telecom operators to provide more value added services in attracting high-end subscribers.

3G network in Asia also shows swift growth from 26 million SIMs in H1/2008 to 38 million SIMs in H1/2009, up 32% whereas the global SIM for 3G market grows by 24% only. The 3G subscribers also represent a greater proportion in the telecom connections than the global average level.