eSIM-based Device Shipments to Reach Nearly Two Billion Units by 2025

  • Smartphones, enterprise IoT and wearables poised to be major volume drivers for eSIM adoption
  • Hardware-based eSIM will see the highest adoption, followed by Integrated SIM or iSIM by 2025

Shipments of eSIM-based devices will reach almost two billion units by 2025, up from 364 million in 2018, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s ETO (Emerging Technology Opportunities) Service. This will be mainly due to smartphones and enterprise IoT devices. Our findings also show that a majority of eSIM-based devices will have a hardware chip based eSIM solution until 2025, and after that, we will see a rise in the adoption of integrated SIM-based solutions.

Commenting on the market demand for eSIMs, Counterpoint research analyst, Satyajit Sinha, noted, “The growth of eSIMs will revolutionize how the connectivity across the devices will be activated and managed. The eSIM’s compact form factor offers significant space reduction for device manufacturers along with potentially higher security, re-programmability, and power efficiencies over the traditional SIM card solutions. For operators, eSIMs can significantly reduce the SIM distribution and activation costs while the potential to generate higher roaming revenues. Furthermore, eSIM offers great benefits for consumers and enterprise customers to seamlessly choose, activate, connect, and manage connectivity on their devices.”

eSIM solution is available in multiple forms

Sinha, further added, “The current eSIM solution is available in multiple forms, mainly GSMA compliant hardware chip and proprietary software integrated based. Currently, the majority of the eSIM deployments have been proprietary soft SIM solutions. However, hardware-based eSIMs are gaining traction, thanks to Apple, automotive OEMs, and wearables. The leading suppliers of hardware-based eSIMs include Infineon, ST Micro, Gemalto, G+D, Workz, and others. Whereas for proprietary soft SIM-based eSIM solution, leading suppliers include RedteaMobile, Truphone, Telna, ARM, roam2free, and others.”

Adoption of eSIMs in smartphones should also drive the major volume growth with the adoption of eSIM by top players such as Apple, Google. Other connected devices such as mobile hotspots, routers, connected PCs, drones, and smartwatches though will grow at a higher CAGR due to a relatively smaller base of adoption right now. However, in terms of shipment volumes, smartphones and B2B IoT devices will lead.

Commenting on the segments adopting eSIM, Research Director, Neil Shah added, “Automotive and enterprise IoT devices will continue to remain high on the eSIM adoption curve in future. Further, the eSIM activation rate in cellular enterprise IoT devices will also be much higher than consumer IoT devices. Key drivers being fragmented deployments, module space savings, robust tamper-proof security, flexibility in choosing the best available and competitive cellular network seamlessly as well as saving significantly on physical provisioning, and maintenance costs.”

Shah, further added, “The initial eSIM solutions in smartphones over the last four years have been proprietary soft eUICC (eSIM) mostly driven by Chinese OEMs in China before Apple and Google adopted GSMA compliant hardware eSIM. However, we will see a shift in adoption to the GSMA compliant hardware-based eUICC for next five to six years alongside integrated SIM or iUICC within system-on-a-chip (SoCs) across different device categories, replacing the less secure proprietary soft eSIM solutions. While hardware-based eUICC will be popular across smartphones, automotive, we believe iSIM or iUICC will be popular across IoT applications.”