Consumers in emerging markets using multi SIM cards for cheaper calls

Monday 07 February 2011 01:00 GMT

In the Western world where mobile phone contracts are relatively inexpensive, mobile phone users are accustomed to using just one SIM card to power all their mobile communications; however, in places like the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India, mobile users are snapping up phones with multiple SIM facilities so they can make cheaper calls.

"We are already seeing triple SIM card devices being launched and this multi SIM behavior looks set to grow as a phenomenon, especially amongst the newer and more emerging markets," commented GfK Global Telco marketing director, Aaron Rattue in a study released on February 3.  

"The multiple SIM facilitates the consumer-lead desire to utilize different tariffs throughout the week, depending on time and usage."

Users locked into one network may be charged more expensive rates when calling someone on a different network. With a device that supports multiple SIM cards, users have the freedom to choose the network that provides them with the cheapest calls.

According to GfK, one in ten mobile phones in the Middle East and Africa are now dual SIM capable.

Asian users have upped their consumption of dual SIM card devices from 13 percent at the beginning of 2010 to 16 percent.

Growth trends are even higher in Indonesia, Vietnam, Ghana and India where the market for dual SIM phones has increased from one in ten last year to one in four in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In January, a division of Japan's AKAI Mobile launched its first triple SIM phone in India, a feature phone, called "Trio."

The Rs. 3295 (€53) phone comes with some multimedia features, a 2" display, a 1.3 MP camera, GPRS, and WAP functionality for web browsing.

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