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Global SIM card shipments go up

Posted: 29 Apr 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SIM card  smartphone  3G  mobile broadband 

Emerging markets and the demand for high-speed multimedia handsets has resulted in 28% growth in global SIM card shipments, according to SIMalliance. The global association of the world's leading SIM card manufacturers estimated the Total Market Available (TAM) estimated from 1.9 billion in 2006 to 2.7 billion in 2007.

According to organization, the double-digit growth has been partly driven by the evolving role of the SIM card within its extensive eco-system, made up of network operators, handset makers, technology vendors and providers of services, content and applications.

Since the arrival of mobile broadband, new technologies, such as smartphones, have outsold laptops by as many as two million in 2007(Source Symbian – Symbian Smartphone show). In turn, this has brought new players to the mobile space, creating a pivotal new role for the SIM in addition to its existing role of securing identity across networks.

More sophisticated services are now demanded of the SIM, integrating tailor-made services, content and applications to suit the boundaries of wireless capabilities and interaction with the outside world. The migration towards 3G has continued to accelerate with 3G-enabled cards representing 14% of all SIMalliance shipments.

The move towards 3G has been a significant factor for sustained growth within saturated markets, (such as western Europe, with growth of 18%). However the biggest drive has come from emerging markets where shipments have increased:

    from 123 million in 2006 to 194 million in 2007, a growth of 58% in India

      from 332 million in 2006 to 427 million in 2007 , a growth of 29% in Greater China

        from 260 million in 2006 to 366 million in 2007, a growth of 41% in the Middle East and Africa

          and from 159 million in 2006 to 228 million in 2007, a growth of 43% in Latin America

          The market conditions have also been stimulated by the increase in the average memory size of the SIM by as much as 12%. In 2007, the average memory size was 53kb in comparison to 47kb the previous year, but this has not been limited to areas where the market is already established. In Latin America, where shipments have risen by 43%, the average memory size is 76kb, higher than Western Europe and second only to Japan and Korea.

          "These statistics reaffirm the role of the SIM card within the market. The significant technological advances that we see in the market, such as the impact of smartphones, are all dependent on the SIM's capabilities," says Michel Canitrot, Chairman of SIMalliance. "We believe that the SIM Industry, in light of the prosperous market environment, can open the SIM to other players within our eco-system and accelerate the adoption of these advances to the benefit of all operators."

          SIMalliance also announced an outlook for 2008 above the 3 billion mark for SIM cards shipped.

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