SIM volumes grow by 25%
SIMalliance announced a 25% year on year increase in the number of SIM cards shipped: SIMalliance members shipped 3.9 billion cards in 2010. As a few vendors are not SIMalliance members, the association estimates total sales of SIM cards amount to 4.2 to 4.3 billion units in 2010.
SIM alliance delivers a geographical breakdown of the industry shipments:
The review highlights the growth in popularity of alternative form factors. The increasing ubiquity of smartphones in the more advanced markets, coupled with the burgeoning demand for tablet devices sees the 3FF micro-SIM form factor represent 20% of shipments in North America, 20% in Japan and Korea, and 18% in Western Europe. The standard (2FF) SIM card continues to dominate, with the form factor representing 97,5% of all cards sold globally during the period.
Cards authenticating and securing access in the Machine to Machine (M2M) world have, for the first time, begun to gain traction with SMD (Surface Mounted Device) cards representing 1.2 million cards sold in 2010. TO support this movement, SIMalliance has set up a taskforce to provide answers to multiple issues surrounding the M2M business.
SIMalliance also shows the average memory size evolution for each region. Latin America uses SIMs with the largest memory size (112 kb), followed by Japan/Korea (99 kb) and Western Europe with 84 kb. At the other end of the spectrum, India average memory size reaches 47 kb, and Asia Pacific average memory size is 48 kb. Most growth figures are between 3% and 8% year on year, illustrating the difficulty for mobile network operators to deliver applications on SIM cards. SIMaliance considers 2010 as being a land table year, and anticipates a return to memory size growth in 2011 due to LTE and NFC rollouts.
LTE is an opportunity for the SIM card industry, which triggered SIMalliance to define a UICC profile for LTE. Also NFC devices are coming, and are anticipated to reach 40 to 50 million handsets by end of 2011, which has led SIM alliance to publish their “NFC stepping stones”
The user relationship battle between mobile network operators and handset vendors is on. SIMalliance is decided to play its role in the battle in promoting the SIM industry.