4G SIM to account for 43% of total SIM shipments by 2021

A staff member poses with a mock oversized Vodafone Secure SIM card at the Vodafone booth at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, March, 5, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Files
4G SIM shipments are forecast to account for 43 percent of the total SIM shipments by 2021, said ABI Research.

China has emerged as a prominent player in the LTE race with both government and industry entities showing signs that the region is planning to dominate the race for upcoming 5G rollouts, according to ABI Research.

Counterpoint Research in its latest smartphone report said China is leading in terms of LTE subscriptions share by contributing to almost half of the total worldwide LTE subscriptions. LTE will be a dominant technology for mass market adoption with Gigabit LTE to start providing the foundation next year for premium high speed mobile broadband before the 5G rollout takes over by 2022.

ABI Research estimates that SIM card shipments will reach nearly 6 billion in 2017. SIM card industry is expected to maintain relatively stable growth until 2021 despite a sharp decline in NFC SIMs worldwide.

The telecom research report from ABI Research said that the NFC SIM or Single Wire Protocol SIM is losing its fight against the eSE (Embedded Secure Element) and HCE (Host Card Emulation), which continue to gain momentum due to interest from banks, financial institutions, and transportation authorities.

ALSO READ: SIM card industry report by ABI Research

The report noticed a steady drop in the sale of Single Wire Protocol and decline in the average selling prices.

“It is necessary to take aggressive steps to market higher-end SIMs with RSA encryption, memory capacity above 512KB, 4FF form factor, and of course, higher incentives for LTE SIMs to ensure a level of revenue growth in a flattening market,” said Dimitrios Pavlakis, industry analyst at ABI Research.

Leading SIM card and IC vendors include G&D, Gemalto, Morpho, and Oberthur Technologies. EM Microelectronic, Infineon, and Samsung continue to lead the market.

North America and Europe are relatively stable in new organic growth of SIM card, while the largest growth percentage will occur in Latin America, Africa, and select Asia-Pacific regions.

Counterpoint Research said smartphone shipments reached 1,512 million units in 2016 with 4 out 5 smartphones shipped was LTE enabled. In Q4 2016, 440 million units of smartphones were shipped. Almost 80 percent of the mobile phones shipped are now smartphones.