Global SIM card shipments to exceed 5.8 Billion in 2020

August 01, 2017 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
ABI Research, in its latest report, finds that global SIM Card shipments rose by 3.9 percent YoY in 2016 to reach over 5.4 billion units, with this number expected to hit over 5.8 million in 2020.

This moderate growth rate was driven by continued advancement of LTE networks in China, Indonesia, and India, with the latter having fully recovered from the impact of the introduction of SIM ID registration which hit the market heavily in 2013. However, Asia could be considered a market highlight, with its success somewhat offsetting disappointing and stagnant results in the Americas and Western Europe, driven by the closure of Softcard, directly impacting the issuance of single wire protocol (SWP) SIMs, and high saturation levels respectively.

Political turmoil and security risks in many regions have already accelerated the implementation of SIM ID registration for pre-paid SIM cards, which is viewed as a highly effective method to counter national security risks and illegal activity. With more countries expected to implement ID registration in the near future, this could have a negative impact on the market.

Today there remains a level of uncertainly in the market, fueled by the imminent introduction of pre-paid SIM ID registration in Poland, Hungary and the Middle East. India's ID registration, which took place in 2013, is a prime example of how ID registration can adversely affect the market. Ultimately the time lag between ID registration and SIM deployment resulted in a major reduction in SIM issuance, drastically affecting the localized market where shipments levels dropped near 10 percent YoY. This is a scenario which all ecosystem players will want to avoid repeating.