A new study from Juniper Research has found that embedded SIM cards (eSIMs) will account for more than 50 per cent of cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) connections by the end of the decade.
The report noted that the introduction of the GSMA’s embedded specification is likely to fuel the opportunity for service providers to offer remote provisioning of SIM cards, in turn enhancing the capabilities of service providers to update and augment offerings and subscriptions.
M2M is one of two device categories within the GSMA’s remote SIM provisioning programme. The GSMA Embedded SIM Specification is designed to simplify industrial and logistic processes for the distribution of devices.
The second category relates to consumer companion devices such as wearables (smart watches, fitness bands etc.), tablets, and so on. The adoption of eSIMs in such devices will eliminate the need for incorporating SIM housing components and help maximise the space available in the device.
At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February, the GSMA released a specification that allows consumers to remotely activate the SIM embedded in a device such as a smart watch, fitness band or tablet. The specification was the first output from the GSMA’s industry-backed Consumer Remote SIM Provisioning initiative.
Meanwhile a report from the SIMalliance earlier this year said shipments of eSIMs increased by 48 per cent in 2015, driven largely by European shipments. The alliance noted that volumes also rose significantly in Japan and South Korea, where M2M services are well established.
It added that this could signal a further potential growth opportunity for eSIMs, as other markets follow and expand M2M deployments across sectors such as automotive, and energy/utilities.
Herve Pierre, SIMalliance chairman, said the alliance is actively engaged in standardisation efforts for M2M deployments.
“While embedded UICC technology in M2M deployments, such as smart meters and vending machines, is established and mature in some markets, we are aware of potential opportunities for its application within connected consumer devices, specifically across segments where there are high security requirements, such as automotives and wearables. As part of its roadmap, SIMalliance will soon start to adapt its technology to address the requirements of subscription management for eUICCs within connected consumer devices,” Pierre said.
SIMalliance added that total worldwide SIM shipments in 2015 increased by 2 per cent to 5.3 billion.