ISLAMABAD ( MEDIA )
Shipments of SIM Cards declined last year by 193 million units to 4.94 billion; a drop of 3.8%, according to ABI Research. A number of separate issues combined to affect the market last year, varying from region to region.
While some countries were boosted by the ongoing upgrade and addition of LTE and NFC-capable SIM cards, shipment of such high-end SIMs at a global level were below previous expectations for 2013.
However, by far the most significant factor was the overall decline in Asia.
Asia and the ramping penetration of mobile telephony has been the primary growth engine for SIMs over the past five years. In 2013 there were several factors that combined to reverse this process overall. At the end of 2012 India became the latest country to require presentation of ID and registration of the purchase of pre-paid SIMs. This had the single most dramatic impact of any factor last year and resulted in a massive decline in SIM cards sold in the country. As a result of this, and a slowdown in China, the Asian market declined 10.0%, falling below 2011 levels.
Other regions also suffered as MNOs delayed launch of NFC payment services as well as full-blown IMS implementations for data and voice services in their 4G networks. However, activity in both areas increased in 2H13 and ABI Research expects orders for SWP and ISIM UICC cards to grow in 2014 as the market returns to progression.