The value of the global eSIM market is set to increase from $4.7 billion in 2023, to $16.3 billion by 2027 – with a growth spurt expected when Apple’s eSIM only iPhone 14 is launched.
According to a new report from Juniper Research, the eSIM market is set to grow by an impressive 249%, driven by the adoption of eSIM-enabled consumer devices, as seen in Apple’s recent release of the eSIM-only iPhone 14, triggering accelerated operator support.
eSIMs are embedded within devices, enabling devices and sensors to seamlessly switch between network operator profiles. They are great for MNOs to control and activate, as well as for corporates to have seamless control, via their MNO, of all their devices. They also allow users to have multiple SIMs – and therefore numbers – in one device, so one device can be both work and personal phone.
On the downside, however, eSIMs don’t work in countries that have no eSIM support (yet), while if a user damages their phone they can no longer switch out the SIM card into another handset – that they have to do via their MNO.
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eSIM-enabled Android devices to accelerate consumer adoption
The research predicts Apple will expand deployment of eSIM-only devices to Europe during 2023, with eSIM technology key to minimising the time-consuming establishment of roaming agreements within the fragmented European telecommunications market.
It found the total number of smartphones leveraging eSIM connectivity will increase from 986 million in 2023, to 3.5 billion by 2027, with manufacturers such as Google and Samsung developing an equivalent eSIM-only Android device in order to compete with Apple and maintain their global market positioning.
Research author Scarlett Woodford says: “Despite operator concerns regarding the disruptive impact of eSIMs on existing business models, growing support from smartphone manufacturers will place additional pressure on operators. In response, service providers must support eSIM connectivity to avoid subscriber attrition as technology awareness increases.”
Chinese regulations must support eSIM smartphone connectivity
The report found the total number of eSIM-connected smartphones in China will increase from 103 million in 2023, to 385 million by 2027, assuming country-specific standards are implemented; allowing eSIM use in smartphones.
It noted current regulations prevent Chinese-based device manufacturers from selling to their home market, limiting investment and innovation. In response, the report urges industry bodies to work closely with the Chinese government to develop specifications that allow eSIM support whilst addressing requirements for device monitoring and tracking.