SIM cards come in different sizes but have the same things stored on them. They’re simple to use, and some, like embedded SIM cards, require barely any labor except downloading data. Also, they’re mass-produced, sold worldwide, and, thanks to roaming, rarely swapped for another SIM outside of the boundaries of their native mobile network. Granted, sometimes changing carriers is intentional. But even when that happens, these cards are practically a gift or come at an insignificant price. That’s why users rarely wonder, “how much does a SIM card cost?” Not us, though, we want an answer.
1. How much does a SIM card cost to manufacture?
The manufacturing cost of a SIM card depends entirely on the country of origin, and the company in charge. There’s also an increased demand since 2017, which significantly reduced the production price. This stems from the fact that nearly 55% of Internet traffic came from mobile devices (tablets excluded) in the 1st quarter of 2021. For that reason, the manufacturing plants/factories are located in cost-effective countries such as China, India, or Brazil. Besides the country it’s made in, the SIM price also fluctuates based on the batch size. Another element is the price of electronics required to make MOS integrated circuit chips (MOS ICC). After asking people in the know, we surmise SIM card costs around $0.5 to manufacture in optimal conditions.
2. Price of blank SIM cards
Unless you’re a company and have a manufacturing plant as a supplier, you won’t be able to get SIM cards at a price above. As an individual, you’ll have to order hundreds, if not thousands, to get a wholesale discount. So, a regular Joe that needs a few blank SIMs to experiment with cloning a SIM card or playing with their SIM card reader will need to look elsewhere. We recommend online marketplaces. And, from what we gathered, empty writable 4G LTE WCDMA and 4G LTE GSM SIM cards typically cost $1-$1.5 in bulks of 50 to 100. You can expect to pay $1.8-$2.5 for 10 programmable SIMs and between $3.5 and $4.5 for a pack of 5 blank SIMs.
3. Cost of a SIM card sold by carriers
When we taught you to buy a SIM card, we only considered those tied to a mobile service network e.g., a certain carrier. In that case, you’ll pay:
- Nothing. The vast majority of carriers provide a free SIM card. They recoup the cost when you sign a 12-month or 24-month contract with a postpaid SIM card or purchase call, text, or data add-ons with prepaid/pay-as-you-go SIM.
- $0.75 to $49.99. A no-contract SIM card kits (3-in-1, 4-in-1) usually sell for between $0.75 and $9.99. SIM-only deals e.g., no-contract SIMs sold by carriers usually cost between $4.99 and $49.99.