Market monitoring data published today by Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA) reveals that global adoption of eSIM technology continued to build in 2021.
TCA member data shows that eSIM profile transactions – which refers to the number of times a mobile operator profile was downloaded – rose by 54% as uptake of eSIM functionality increased across consumer, enterprise and machine-to-machine (M2M) verticals. eSIM shipment volumes collectively reported by TCA members also increased 9% year-on-year to reach 337 million units. This momentum is anticipated to continue, and TCA forecasts that the total available market for eSIMs will see double-digit growth in 2022.
Growing eSIM adoption in 2021 was enabled by a well-established global infrastructure that is now being widely and increasingly utilised by all major Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators. TCA members saw strong ongoing investment in eSIM Subscription Manager (SM) platforms, which enable the remote provisioning and lifecycle management of eSIMs. Building upon this investment, operators are now increasingly activating and managing eSIMs to authenticate and onboard new customers.
Increases in eSIM shipment volumes were mainly driven by use-cases across automotive and IoT verticals. TCA members reported 38% growth in M2M eSIM shipments, demonstrating that the adoption of cellular connectivity is accelerating across various IoT use-cases. There was also sustained growth across the consumer eSIM segment, but volumes were tempered by the impact of economic sanctions and broader geopolitical trends on the global smartphone market, as well as the delay of new device launches and the reduction of shipped units due to the widely publicised worldwide chip shortage.
Claus Dietze, Chair of the TCA Board, comments:
“Despite considerable ongoing uncertainty, the latest data from TCA clearly shows that market demand for both eSIM-enabled devices and functionality continues to increase.”
“As momentum builds and the marketplace evolves, promoting secure, scalable and interoperable eSIM deployments that meet the unique requirements of use-cases spanning the connected ecosystem remains a strategic priority for TCA. We will continue to work in close collaboration with key industry stakeholders to develop and advance enabling specifications and initiatives that support trusted connectivity.”
TCA member data also showed substantial increases in 5G SIM shipments in 2021, building on advances made in 2020, which marked the first year of widespread 5G SIM deployments. The ‘Recommended 5G SIM’ as defined by TCA promotes the highest levels of security, privacy and functionality in 5G networks to maximise operator investments and support 5G use-cases.
The market for traditional SIM form factors remains significant, but volumes have been affected by the ongoing global chip shortage. TCA estimates that the total available market for SIM was 4.35 billion units in 2021.
TCA (formerly SIMalliance) provides exclusive statistical insight into the global SIM ecosystem based on members’ market data.