Ronnie05's Blog

Dual/Multiple SIM markets in India

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on March 20, 2010

Dual SIMs entered the Indian Markets with stealth and are often connoted with inferior quality Chinese White branded handsets. However, the response to Dual SIMs and Multiple SIM handsets from the Indian markets has been phenomenal. The markets have almost move to the tune of 25% per month of the total handset sales from dual/multiple SIM handsets.
This inspite of the fact that it didnot have active support from the big 5: Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Dual SIMs handsets have powered low cost players like Spice, Micromax, Karbonn to 20% market share levels. So much so that the organized players such as Samsung, LG and Nokia are also jumping into the dual SIM bandwagon. Here’s a media release that i had given on the scope, market, consumer preferences and cons of the multiple SIM handsets.

The scope of multiple-SIM phones in the Indian market
A large percentage of mobile users have a tendency to maintain two to three connections and therein arises the need to accommodate this requirement through multiple SIM phones. This is actually a reflection of the fact that markets in India are maturing even while 15-20 million subscribers are added every month. Multiple SIM phones are mainstream in Europe, Russia, Thailand and other mature markets. Indian Users are slowly waking upto the trend of multiple SIM cards. Consumers today want to keep their work connection separate from their home connections. Yet others like to toggle between two operators one with cheaper VAS/SMS and the other with a cheap talk plan. There are still others working across geographies who maintain multiple connections: One from the Home network and the other from the other geography network. Another new category of consumers prefer to maintain a GSM and a CDMA connection and there-in lies the utility of GSM-CDMA phone.

Do such phones hold promise in rural segment
While Multi SIM phones are globally a feature of mature markets, the spread in India covers rural segment also. This is because cheap SIM and talk times allow people to maintain multiple connections. The cost differential between a Multi-SIM phone and a Mono SIM phone is lesser than the perceived benefits and utility of owning a Multiple SIM Phone. Hence there is a market which exists in this segment as well.

The growth of Dual SIM phone segment in India
Market analysts say that, in India 50 million people have multiple SIM handsets and the numbers are increasing by 2-3 million users every month. That is 20-25% of the total market and is substantial.

Will the success of Dual SIMS be replicated in the Triple SIM segment?
Any new segment must have a valid consumer proposition for it to make business sense.
In India, Dual SIM phones are more widely accepted for the reasons mentioned earlier. A Triple SIM phone has a niche market in business usage (Order Booking, Handling multiple partners, small retailers and SMEs). Thus in terms of numbers, a dual SIM phone will have more acceptance, though a triple SIM phone will make sense for its kind of users.

The value addition of triple SIM phones to the consumer
Lets sample a few types of consumers of the Triple SIM phone:
A restaurateur who has a delivery service; a travel agent who has multiple phone connections; businessmen who need to manage customers, vendors and personal contacts and People who travel a lot who need to maintain low cost Talk options in two or more geographies and a data/VAS connection. The Triple SIM is a solution where-ever there is a need to work and manage more than 2 kinds of user groups. As stated earlier, this market is niche but a triple SIM phone has a direct relevance to these users.

Will we see SIM support number rising further to 4 or 5 in the coming days?
Dual SIM has mass connotations, Triple SIM has a niche; however, 4 or 5 SIM phones would be an overkill. There is very limited consumer proposition for more than 3 SIMs and hence we do not see a relevance to any consumer category for 4 or 5 SIM phones. Besides on the technology part, a 4/5 SIM Phone will lack stability, cause battery drainages, Overheating and burn outs.

Disadvantages of multiple SIM phones?
As discussed earlier, we can only put 2 PCBs on a phone. Using more than 2 may cause phone instability, battery drainages, Overheating and other technical issues. 2 PCBs support Dual SIM the best, Triple SIM optimally. Hence going beyond 3 SIMs is technically not preferred.

Read the follow up post on Dual SIM Markets in India

3 Responses

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  1. MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot said, on March 21, 2010 at 4:38 am

    […] Dual/Multiple SIM markets in India « Ronnie05's Blog […]

  2. […] markets is that of multiple connections per person (112% mobility), which re-enforces the growth in Dual SIM handsets. Talking of Dual Sims, this has been a category that has seen a significant growth in the […]

  3. telefoane dual sim said, on October 29, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Three and four sim phones are already available and they work very good.

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