Sim shipments grew by six per cent to 4.6 billion units in 2012 from 4.4 billion units in 2011 for SIMalliance members, which account for around 90 per cent of the worldwide sim market.
"The total available market has grown by an estimated nine per cent to 5.1 billion units in 2012 from 4.7 million a year earlier," it said.
The highest growth region was North America, up by 32 per cent to 216 million sims shipped, as CDMA transitions to Long Term Evolution (LTE). Africa saw 20 per cent growth to 499 million units and western Europe grew by 11 per cent to 275 million as smart device usage increased and boosted demand for micro and nano sims.
SIMalliance members also reported 20 million Near Field Communication (NFC) shipments in 2012, an 87 per cent rise on 2011. The top NFC sim markets were Japan and Korea at 21 million units and Western Europe at six million.SIMalliance members saw a 42 per cent increase in shipments of soldered sims designed specifically for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications (MFF2 form factor), due to increased usage in automotive and utilities, it added.