Everybody knows about SIM card providers in their respective countries, but what about their manufacturers? SIM cards are an integral part of mobile telecommunication, and in today’s world, their number exceeds the total population of the world. But, again, have you wondered who the best SIM card manufacturers in the world are? If you think they are made by mobile network providers that supply them, you are completely wrong. SIM cards are manufactured by other, independent companies, and providers merely buy them, imprint them, and sell them to consumers.
Who are SIM card manufacturers?
Manufacturers of SIM cards fabricate, program, and test SIM cards for their users. The manufacturing process is very similar to procedures to make other microchips or integrated circuits (ICs). Like ICs, SIM cards are also built with a firmware code, a small processor, and basic memory storage. The manufacturer stores crucial data in its memory such as the 128-bit key called KI (Key Identification), IMSI number, and other things stored on the SIM. All these represent a subscriber’s credentials for their mobile network.
These manufacturers also create smart chips required for security, banking, and other forms of secured data transfers. If we take an example of the SIM card like the chip on debit and credit cards, it does the work of theft protection rather than connectivity. The production companies are the same in most cases, hence they are well-equipped and well versed with the latest technology. This is complementary to both types of cards.
We have talked about who produces SIM cards and separated them from mobile network carriers that sell them. You can infer from all this that these companies play a crucial role in SIM technology. But they are so underrated, that a common individual generally doesn’t know the name of any. Therefore, in this section, we want to give them a chance to shine. We will briefly analyze nearly a dozen major SIM card manufacturers across the globe.
1. Thales DIS
Thales DIS was formerly known as Gemalto. It is a part of the Thales Group, which produces SIM cards, software solutions, and other technologies related to telecommunications. Gemalto was merged with Thales Group in 2019. Before this, Gemalto was the largest SIM card manufacturer in the world, and it continues the same. It provides millions of SIM cards to the world from its headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The company was founded in 2006 and has over 1000 employees at the time of writing.
Giesecke + Devrient is a German company that manufactures banknotes, cash handling systems, smart cards, security solutions, and more. It produces SIM cards for price-sensitive markets and eSIMs, making it a crucial company in the global SIM market for over 50 years in the past. The company’s headquarters are in Munich, Germany, and it was founded in 1852. More than 1000 workers are associated with the company, making it a 3 billion USD annual revenue-earning business.
IDEMIA is a multinational corporation founded in 2016. It merged with Oberthur and Morpho in 2017. The company produces public security and identity products, biometric devices, and other smart-connectivity products. The company’s focus is now on eSIM technology to enlarge its customer base. It is helping in developing SIM cards to perform beyond their basic role in cell phones. Its headquarters are in Courbevoie, France. The company’s net worth is estimated at 2.7 billion USD annually at the time of writing.
VALID is a Brazilian multinational company that provides solutions for mobile data, payment, and identity. It is the 5th largest SIM card manufacturer in the world and took fourth place on our list. The company works with governments, agencies, companies, and consumers to create a customized secure communication network. VALID’s base of operations is in São Paulo, Brazil. The company was formed in 1957 and its annual net revenue is estimated at 389 million USD.
Eastcompeace is a company that deals with smart card technology. It operates in China, Russia, India, Singapore, and Bangladesh with products related to information security. The company also deals in telecommunications, IoT (Internet of Things) sectors, banking, and government covering 80+ countries around the world. Its focus is on SIM security and integration. The company was formed in 1998, and its base of operations is within Zhuhai, China.
6. Wuhan Tianyu
Wuhan Tianyu is a China-based SIM card manufacturer. It was founded in Wuhan, China in 1999. The company manufactures smart cards for social security, communication, finance, taxes, fuel, transportation, and so forth. In the Chinese market, it is the leader in its field. It manufactures a full line of SIM cards, including embedded SIMs, and other connectivity-related products. The company’s estimated annual revenue is 314 million USD.