BY: ITWeb, Staff Writer.

The internet of things (IOT) sector will propel eSIM − or embedded SIM − connections globally, outpacing eSIM-enabled smartphone growth.

This is based on insights from Juniper Research, which predicts the global number of IOT connections using eSIM technology will reach 195 million by 2026, up from 22 million in 2023.

eSIM is a small chip used to authenticate a user’s identity with their carrier, as part of a global specification developed by the GSM Association, a telecoms trade body.

Juniper has identified the growing adoption of eSIM IOT manager (eIM) among eSIM platforms as the driving force of this growth over the next three years. eIM is a standardised eSIM provisioning tool that allows large-scale deployment and management of eSIM-enabled IOT devices.

According to the report, incumbent eSIM provisioning solutions − such as subscription management secure routing − have hindered the growth of eSIMs in the IOT market by limiting the number of devices that can be provisioned and managed via a single user interface.

However, eIM solutions will reduce the cost of deployments by enabling multiple connections to be deployed at the same time, it states.

“With the increased adoption of eIM tools, the growth of eSIM IOT connections will outpace the consumer sector, which includes smartphones, over the next three years.”

Based on the research firm’s report, only 2% of all eSIM-enabled devices are attributable to the IOT sector. However, this will reach 6% by 2026, it states.

The report further anticipates that eSIM-enabled IOT devices in service will grow 780% globally over the next three years, driven by two sectors: logistics, and oil and gas extraction.

“By 2026, these two markets will account for 75% of eSIMs in use globally; owing to their reliance on low-power, wide-area business models that necessitate the use of mass deployment processes.”

In South Africa, the uptake of eSIM-enabled smartphones on the consumer front has been sluggish, unlike in established markets, such as the US and Europe.

Embedded SIM cards have already been included in a range of newer high-end iOS and Android phone models, including Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Oppo and Sony.

Industry insiders believe high costs remain the key barrier to adoption. However, as more vendors start supplying eSIM-supporting phones, the technology will be more affordable and more accessible to consumers.


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