Global SIM card market gains 2.8% thanks to India LTE operators

The SIM cards market achieved 2.8 percent growth to 5.45 billion units in 2016 – fuelled by growth in Asia and Indian LTE markets, according to SIMalliance.

The SIMalliance membership, which represents nearly 90 percent of the SIM market, has reported a 5 percent growth to 4.9 billion units.

The SIM market Asia achieved 14 percent growth to 2.53 billion units — driven by expansion across India, Indonesia and Pacific Asia.

SIM market in India rose 17.5 percent to 960 million units.

Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G market foray was one of the growth drivers for the growth in the global SIM segment. Other LTE operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have also contributed to the growth of the global SIM market.

Indonesia’s SIM market rose 62 percent — partly fuelled by LTE migration across the region.

SIM market in China has begun to stabilize following a contraction which started in 2015. Shipments across technologically advanced Japan / Korea remained stable.

SIM market across the Americas did not grow, with total shipments reaching 781 million units. While regulatory and economic challenges continued to affect Brazil, total South America volumes rose 1.5 percent, buoyed by growth in other countries.

SIM card shipments in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) rose 10 percent to 262 million units. SIM card shipments in Russia / Ukraine increased 20 percent, thanks to recovery from both political uncertainty and depressed oil prices in recent years.

SIM market fell 5 percent across Europe to 420 million units – due to MNO consolidation across the region. High levels of smartphone penetration and subscriber acquisition have kept shipments in the region stable in recent years.

Globally, there was significant demand for triple SIM products in 2016, with this form factor category now representing significantly more than half of all global shipments. SIM vendors introduced the Triple SIM in 2013/14, in response to market requirements for a more efficient supply chain.

SIM cards for LTE networks rose 38.5 percent to 1.4 billion units. Greater China remained the largest LTE SIM card market with 401 million units.

India became the second largest market with a significant increase from 62 million units in 2015 to 314 million units in 2016.

South America, including Brazil, was the third largest market (220 million units), followed by North America (148 million units).

A 49 percent increase in shipments of embedded SIMs (soldered) designed specifically for M2M applications (M2M MFF2) was driven by growing demand in the Americas, Asia and Europe. This year-on-year growth trend demonstrates future growth opportunities in the global M2M market, particularly within the automotive and energy / utilities sectors.