Nielsen yesterday released a survey – The Rise of Multi-SIM users: Customers shifting to dual SIM phones to have effective control over costs – which pointed out the growing trend of using more than one sim card in India. It also highlighted the potential for dual sim mobile handsets in a growing marketplace like India.
Currently, 71 million or 7.1 crore mobile users in India use more than one sim card out of which Nielsen’s survey interviewed almost 20,000 respondents spread out in 18 Indian cities.
The respondents who participated in the survey were as young as 18 and as old as 55, although 45% of the them were in the age group of 18-25 years and 36% were between 26-35 years. 14% of the respondents were between 36-45 years and 4% were in the age bracket of 46-55. Quantitatively, more than 16,000 respondents figured in the age bracket of 18 to 35.
Handset Type and Brand Share of Multi-Sim Indian Users
The apparent concentration of dual sim using respondents is also seen in the type of occupation that they pursued. 42% were working professionals, 24% were students, 14% housewives while only 8% were businessmen. Looking at these figures, it would be relatively fair to say that a majority of mobile phone users that Nielsen interviewed for this survey were young professionals and students.
Key Reasons for choosing Multi-Sim
A glaring insight into the mind of the average multiple sim mobile phone user appeared as 31% or 6,200 respondents said that they use more than one sim card to get access to better deals and offers. An additional 17% or 3,400 respondents said that they carried multiple sims to avail the best tariff options available.
Other reasons why the respondents used multiple sim cards varied from continuous network connectivity, CUGs and segregation of work and private calls.
While these reasons were on a personal level, it is interesting to note that 6% used multiple sim cards just because it was given as an add-on by their service provider. Additionally 5% said that their secondary sim card was bundled along with the purchase of their handset. The two categories together reveal that 2,200 respondents use multiple sim cards just because they’ve been given one.
Amongst other findings that emerged was the fact that most dual-sim users preferred to keep both connections prepaid. 2011 statistics showed that 97% of the young mobile users in India preferred a prepaid connection. And as most respondents in this particular survey were young, the fact that they prefer prepaid connections is not really surprising.
It is also noted that smaller mobile operators like Uninor have a relatively increased market share amongst dual-sim users as compared to overall market share. Consumers could be taking advantage of attractive introductory lower prices by smaller service providers by using their prepaid connections as an alternative sim card. This may very well be an aggressive marketing strategy employed by the ‘small fish’ to gain a larger and broader subscriber base in the long run.
Mobile Brand Share among Multi-Sim Users
The Nielson survey also interviewed respondents about the type and brand of mobile handsets that they used. 12,200 of the 20,000 respondents used dual-sim handsets while the rest still relied on a single-sim handset.
Amongst the respondents who used a dual-sim handset, 30% used Nokia, 16% used Samsung and 12% used Micromax handsets. The rest used handsets made by brands like G’Five, Karbonn, Spice, Max, Lava and other Chinese companies. While Samsung may have beaten Nokia in terms of Worldwide Mobile Sales in Q1 2012, Nokia maintains a strong foothold amongst the 12,200 respondents who use a dual-sim handset with a sizeable chunk of 3,660 using its handsets.
A blaring insight from the Nielsen survey is the fact that most of the multiple sim users were in the age group of 18-35 and were either students or working professionals. It has also emerged that the average Indian mobile phone user is now armed with the ability to flip instantaneously between multiple networks. One should also note that approximately 65% of India’s swelling population is below 35 and about 50% of it is below 25.
If this trend of using dual-sim handset among the youth sustains for a long period of time, mobile phone companies and operators may very well be looking to tweak their marketing and operating strategies. After all, they would be looking to woo a significant chunk of 1.2 billion people in a country emerging as a global consumer, don’t you think?