The global number of NFC SIM card shipments remained static during 2015 following the closure of the Softcard mobile wallet in the US last year, the SIMalliance has revealed, despite reporting significant NFC SIM growth across Asia (16% to 68.7m units) and Europe (25% to 32.8m units) — an increase in shipments outside the Americas of 20m units.
Global shipments of all SIM cards totalled 4.7bn in 2015, reflecting a 0.3% increase on 2014.
“The cessation of Softcard in the US in 2015 impacted significantly on NFC-enabled SIM shipment volumes in the region throughout the year, resulting in a decline for North America shipments,” says the organisation that represents suppliers responsible for 88% of the global SIM market.
“NFC SIM growth was seen, however, across Asia (16% to 68.7m units) and Europe (25% to 32.8m units) among other markets, generating a total increase in shipments of 20m units outside of the Americas. Despite these increases, the influence of activities in the US led to a static global picture for NFC-enabled SIMs.”
“In Asia, this is probably due to the transportation application,” SIMalliance chairman Hervé Pierre said during a webinar discussing the 2015 SIM shipment data. “That’s good news — NFC is not only based on payment but could also be used in transport and this probably explains this significant growth, especially in Asia.”
In 2014, 132m NFC SIMs were shipped globally, up 69% on 2013 and taking the total number shipped by alliance members between 2010 and 2014 to 256m.