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Embedded | June 29, 2011

2010 SIM card review: global card sales up 25%

Fuelled by mobile telecommunications growth within developing markets and North America’s migration to a SIM-based network, SIMalliance today announced a 25% year on year increase in the number of SIM cards shipped.
The annual report into the health of the SIM card sector in 2010 showed 3.9 billion cards were shipped in the last year by SIMalliance members.

SIM growth driven by developing markets

The developing markets showed the highest growth: Middle East and Africa (+37%), Asia Pacific (+39%), and India (+40%). Shipments to South America increased by 22% from 2009 levels. In the more established markets, Western European shipments grew by 6% to 107 million units, while North America’s increasing adoption of SIM cards delivered a 24% growth rate.

New form factors emerge

The review highlights the growth in popularity of alternative form factors. The increasing ubiquity of smartphones in the more advanced markets, coupled with the burgeoning demand for tablet devices sees the 3FF micro-SIM form factor represent 20% of shipments in North America, 20% in Japan and Korea, and 18% in Western Europe.

Similarly, cards authenticating and securing access in the Machine to Machine (M2M) world have, for the first time, begun to gain traction with SMD (Surface Mounted Device) cards representing 1,2 million cards sold in 2010.

The standard (2FF) SIM card continues to dominate, with the form factor representing 97,5% of all cards sold globally during the period.

Commenting on the figures, Frédéric Vasnier, Chairman of the Board, SIMalliance said: “The volume card sales index provides an important barometer of the health and the increasing areas of focus of the mobile sector. In the dynamic and high-churn emerging markets growth is being driven by the need to equip, connect and authenticate millions of nomadic subscribers with long tail applications. In the more established markets, the focus has expanded to the increasing commercial adoption of NFC contactless payment which is driving the adoption of a fully Secure Element to secure identity while continuing to assure delivery, management and remote customization of mass market applications.”

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