MTS to launch thermo SIM cards

Mobile phone service provider, MTS, has announced that it will begin pushing forward thermoresistant SIM cards that are able to withstand tempurates from -40 to +105C, reports Kommersant.

The company expects that within the next five years the project will bring in $250-290 million..

The cards are used in M2M (Machine-to-Machine) devices which allow information to be transferred between devices which require stable and secure work in difficult weather or production temperature conditions, explains MTS press-secretary Irina Osadchaya.

“Over the next five years, according to our conservative estimates, the number of users of M2M services from MTS in Russia will exceed 3 million.”

MTS expects revenue from each SIM card to generate around $7-8 a month.

Several companies have already expressed interest in the first batch of cards, including M2M Telematics whose clients include Norilsk Nickel and the Federal Road Service, as well as automobile security system manufacturer Ultrastar and navigation company Novacom Wireless.

Ultrastar manager, Nikolay Strakhov, confirmed that his company was holding talks with MTS to purchase the cards.

“In a lot of regions in Russia the temperature can reach critical values, these SIM cards interest us in terms of raising the performance guarantee under extreme temperatures and provide convenience for the user.”

Novacom general director Andrey Dolgov also agrees.

“A certain percentage of cards fail under low temperatures. When it comes to transport, this is critical.”

Other cellular providers have also expressed interest, but MTS appears to be the most active in this branch of the market. Tatyana Tolmacheva, Business Development Director for Frost & Sullivan in Russia, belives MTS the “niche service” could bring in additional income for operators.

“The mass cellular market has long ago reached maturity, but the potential of this segment for finding solutions to industrial problems is far from exhausted.”