The market for eSIM-equipped smartphones was forecast to reach 420 million units annually by 2022 due to Apple’s decision to deploy the technology in its new iPhones, ABI Research stated.
Apple’s announcement will “move 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,” the research company noted, adding “all eyes will be looking toward the next set of OEMs who will offer dual-SIM models”.
Phil Sealy, principal analyst at ABI Research, believes Samsung is likely to be the next manufacturer to launch an eSIM handset though it “will likely adopt a tiered approach, integrating the eSIM into its S and Note range first, then expand into its A and C ranges later”.
The analyst also identified Huawei, LG Electronics and Xiaomi as likely contenders to release eSIM smartphones, adding Oppo could also be mulling such a move as a means to fuel expansion beyond its domestic market of China. Currently, eSIMs are prohibited in the country, meaning vendors must produce dual physical-SIM models for that market (a fact Apple addressed in its iPhone launch).
Despite the forecast of an acceleration in the number of eSIM-compatible smartphones in the market in the coming years, Sealy noted a lack of operator readiness could be a limiting factor.Subscribe to our daily newsletter