SIMalliance Announces 2011 SIM Card Market Review

SIM Growth Driven by Developing Markets and America
Developing markets and America drove the industry forward last year, with strong growth in Latin America (+36 percent), Middle East and Africa (+26 percent) and India (+31 percent). Shipments to North America continued to increase year on year with a 16 percent growth rate seen in 2011.

NFC becoming a volume industry
The burgeoning market for NFC handsets – estimated by Berg Insight to approach some 700 million devices by 2016 – resulted in 16 million NFC SIM cards being shipped in 2011. This is a significant development as, for the first time, shipments have reached sufficient volumes to be included separately in the SIMalliance annual data.

New form factors take hold
The review also highlights the continued growth in popularity of alternative form factors. Demand for the 3FF micro-SIM form factor (used in some high-end smartphones & media tablets) grew by 63 percent year on year, while shipments of M2M (Machine to Machine) SMDs (Surface Mounted Devices) grew by a factor of 3 between 2010 and 2011. Western European and North American destinations dominate for these new form factors. China also is an important destination for M2M devices.

Commenting on the figures, Frédéric Vasnier, Chairman of the Board, SIMalliance said: “There’s little doubt that the SIM card – whatever its form factor – remains the default security, identity and access device for today’s mobile network operators, and through them, the end-user. But it was the emergence of M2M and NFC as significant sectors in 2011 that causes the real excitement. And as these markets move from emerging to maturing, service providers will increasingly be able to realize the incremental value of their SIM card estates.”

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