ABI Research: Apple’s eSIMs are going to create revenue opportunities for OEMs

The eSIM smartphone market is set to reach 420 million units annually by 2022, due to Apple’s decision to incorporate the technology into its iPhone XR, XS and XS Max devices. The move will accelerate eSIM market growth, according to a recent report from ABI Research. , a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

September 2018 can be considered a significant milestone in the development and deployment of the eSIM, moving the eSIM smartphone market bar from one which was solely occupied by Google and its Pixel 2 device, shipping a few million a year toward, potentially, the hundreds of millions.

Arguably, Apple has now made eSIM integration into smartphones fair game, and all eyes will be looking toward the next set of OEMs who will offer dual-SIM models in their next-generation smartphones.

The eSIM form-factor is a transformative technology, which will undoubtedly impact the entire SIM value chain, including business models, sales channels, and processes across the smart card, secure IC, Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and OEM vendor landscape and will mark a shift toward revenue opportunities around services like  secure OTA management, subscription, and lifecycle management. 

However, it must be noted that traditional SIM card is not going to disappear anytime soon, and Apple’s new range of iPhones is a testament to this fact, given its dual-SIM functionality.

It was always a case of “when”, not “if”, Apple would extend support of eSIM beyond its smartwatches and select a range of tablets into its smartphone portfolio. With its September 12th announcement of the XR, XS and XS Max range of iPhones, that time has arrived.  All three phones include dual-SIM support via a traditional removable SIM card slot, alongside an eSIM. This rollout, however, will exclude the China market, where dual SIM functionality will be delivered via two traditional removable SIM card slots.

Phil Sealy, Principle Analyst, ABI Research