Smart SIM is an advanced version of the subscriber identification module (SIM). SIM is an integrated circuit used for managing the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and the key related to this number. SIM is used to authenticate and identify subscribers on mobile devices. Smart SIM cards are primarily used with global system for mobiles (GSM) phones. Code division multiple access (CDMA) phones use smart SIM cards for the new long-term evolution (LTE) service.
Demand for smart SIM cards has increased tremendously, due to the growing adoption of smart phones worldwide. Smart SIM provides increased storage space, which also increases the size of phone book. With 64 KB of storage space, customers are able to store more phone numbers in their smart SIM cards. These cards can be used with all mobile phones that support the SIM toolkit technology. Using smart SIM cards, customers can easily activate the international calling functionality. Some smart SIM cards are available with a pre-activated international roaming functionality.
Growth in the number of international travelers and globalized business activities are anticipated to drive the global smart SIM market during the forecast period.
Furthermore, smart SIM cards are helpful in allowing banking transactions in a secured environment. These simplified transactions are protected with the help of personal identification number (PIN) and personal unblocking key (PUK). These codes help in establishing a secured connection with banks. Smart SIM cards are light in weight and have higher processing speed as compared to traditional smart cards.
The encryption option available with smart SIM cards helps in secured storage of passwords and user identification codes. Phone banking activities have increased recently due to smart SIMs, as these SIM cards enable customers to pay their bills from their bank account through phone. Easy installation and packaging of the smart SIM has enabled the customers to use it in three different forms viz. regular SIM, micro SIM, and nano SIM.
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Regular SIM is the largest SIM by size, while micro SIM and nano SIM are integrated in regular SIM. These SIM cards can be easily detached from each other and joined again. This flexibility helps the customers use a single SIM card in three variants in accordance with the mobile phone and the services they want to avail.
Smart SIM cards can be used with data cards or specialty devices such as iPad. Smart SIM cards enable multi-operator agreements through a single card. This provides access to a large network of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). In case of network outages, devices are quickly transferred to a different network having better connectivity. Due to the automated data connection detection and re-connection, devices are easily protected against data connection termination. The global smart SIM market has been divided into five geographic segments viz. North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America.
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Asia Pacific is anticipated to generate high demand for the smart SIM market with a growing smartphone subscriber base. However, managing all adapters of SIM cards can be difficult for customers, as they can easily get misplaced due to their small size. Biodegradable SIM manufacturing technology provides substantial opportunities for growth of the smart SIM market. New, paper-based SIM cards have evolved recently. These are made of recyclable and biodegradable wood fibers so as to maintain the environment clean with the reduced carbon footprint.
Major players operating in the global smart SIM market include Oasis Smart SIM, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Group plc, Tata DoCoMo, Idea Cellular, Telefónica UK Limited, Sierra Wireless, Orange, Altel Communications Sdn Bhd, Oberthur Technologies, and Babilon-Mobile.