International market for new SIM cards slowing

The worldwide market for new SIM cards contracted by 193 million units or 3.8% during 2013, according to new figures.

Aside from people purchasing new mobile phones for the first time, lost or stolen phones and users switching between mobile carriers, SIM card shipments can be indicative of upgrades to new technologies including 4G LTE and NFC-capable devices.

The figures, compiled by market research firm ABI Research, show the overall market for new SIM cards contracted to 4.94 billion units.

In a statement, ABI says the adoption of new technologies in developed markets was not enough to offset a fall in demand from Asia.

“At the end of 2012 India became the latest country to require presentation of ID and registration of the purchase of pre-paid SIMs,” ABI states.

“This had the single most dramatic impact of any factor last year and resulted in a massive decline in SIM cards sold in the country.

“As a result of this, and a slowdown in China, the Asian market declined 10.0%, falling below 2011 levels.”

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