SIM card shipments to increase 5% to 5.5 billion units in 2013

Telecom Lead Asia: SIM card annual shipments are expected to increase by 5 percent in 2013 to 5.5 billion units.

ABI Research says growth is slowing as markets near saturation.

Areas of growth remain with new applications, form factors, and an increasing breadth of connected products. The related market value will grow at a higher rate to $2.3 billion this year and ASPs will increase slightly over the next five years.

The emphasis is on extracting maximum value from the 6.3 – rising to 7.5 – billion cards in circulation. LTE / 4G rollouts, NFC, and solutions offering more security for payments, DRM, authentication, and encryption will all see higher end SIM cards shipping over the next few years.

Following shipment growth in 2012 of 8 percent, this is the first time that the SIM card market has had two consecutive years of single-digit growth. There is a growing emphasis from leading vendors on new developments to grow their SIM card businesses.

Even in 2017, over half of shipments will still be for use on 2G networks.

New form factors and the need for data connectivity in consumer electronics and M2M devices will provide some respite to a slowing market.

In 2012, 3FF, 4FF, and MFF accounted for 6 percent of shipments; by 2017 this will have increased to 33 percent. Simultaneously, 3G and 4G will have grown from 19 percent to 42 percent. The end result of these advances is that high-end SIMs, i.e. 512KB and above, will account for a third of SIMs shipping in 2017.

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