A total of 4.7bn SIMs were shipped in 2014 by members of the SIMalliance, an organisation that represents suppliers responsible for 86% of the global SIM market, including 132m NFC SIMs, up 69% on 2013 and taking the total number of NFC SIMs shipped by alliance members over the past four years to 256m.
For the first time, North America outperformed Japan/Korea and became the strongest NFC SIM market in 2014, with shipments jumping 92% to 46m. Japan/Korea was the second largest NFC SIM market with 35m units, while demand for NFC SIMs surged in Europe, rising 85% to 26m. China emerged for the first time as a key NFC SIM market, with reported shipment volumes reaching 25m.
“Last year’s growth in NFC-enabled SIM shipments shows that demand is strong in this market,” says SIMalliance chairman Hervé Pierre. “With the launch of Apple Pay, 2014 was a progressive year for the entire NFC ecosystem and all signs indicate that the NFC market will enjoy continued growth throughout 2015 and beyond.
“The future NFC landscape will certainly consist of SE-MNO and eSE-OEM models, together with hybrid deployment models, and the co-existence — even convergence in some cases — of different NFC technologies opens up unlimited opportunities for all NFC stakeholders. The continued expansion of the NFC market is welcomed by SIMalliance as it will serve to further expedite growth in the whole secure element market.”
“If you are taking into account the bad news from Isis in the US we could be quite skeptical, but this is not the case,” Pierre said in response to a question about NFC SIM shipment volumes in 2015 in light of the increasing use of tokenization and Apple’s use of an embedded secure element for NFC service delivery during a press briefing yesterday.
“There have been a number of significant developments in the NFC ecosystem in the past 12 months. Even if there are some alternative NFC technologies in the payments market, specifically in the US, it educates the market.
“These companies are educating the market and there is still some added value for the SIM, for instance to store the credential, to have some encryption, decryption, to have some mobile ID — you cannot rival it with solutions based on software,” said Pierre. “I still believe that SIM brings a very unique proposition to secure the NFC services and there are already a huge number of NFC SIMs in the field.”