Global shipments of NFC-enabled SIM cards hit 30 million in 2012, according to the SIMalliance.
The figure is an 87 per cent increase on the low base of the previous year as 2012 saw the start of volume shipments for NFC-based SIMs.
The largest markets for NFC SIMs were Japan and Korea who comfortably led the way with 21 million, or 70 per cent, of the total. Western Europe contributed 6.5 million SIMs, followed by 250,000 in Africa and the Middle East and just 100,000 or fewer in North America.
The inclusion of NFC was one of the factors, albeit a small one, that contributed to a six per cent increase in global SIM shipments to 4.6 billion.
Multi-device ownership supported by LTE and NFC in wealthier markets was one of three factors behind 2012’s growth, said the SIMalliance. The other factors were continued subscriber acquisition in emerging markets, as well as expansion of M2M connections.
SIMalliance members represent about 90 per cent of the global SIM market and include the likes of Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient and Oberthur.
Talking about the factors behind continued SIM card growth, Frederic Vasnier (pictured), the SIMalliance chairman, said: “There will also be an increasing number of connected smart devices, such as phones and tablets, in developed regions stimulating demand for high-end SIM products, particularly as LTE and NFC continue to drive the mobile services market forward.”