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Strategy Analytics: A Big Jump Ahead for Dual-SIM Smartphones

July 20, 2015

Having a second subscriber identity module (SIM) card in a smartphone may not seem like a high priority, but for some users, it's absolutely vital. This is particularly true given the increasingly mobile workforce, and it's reflected in the results of a recent study from Strategy Analytics. That study showed that the number of users for dual-SIM phones is set for a big climb worldwide, and in fairly short order, too.

The Strategy Analytics report suggests that dual-SIM smartphone sales will be around 431 million units in 2015, which by itself is nothing to scoff at. But the report also suggests big gains afoot, as the number jumps to 514 million in 2016. That in turn will mean that, on average, around one in every three smartphones sold worldwide—a projected 1.6 billion—will be a dual-SIM smartphone.

That's a pretty impressive concept, and there are good reasons for it. Perhaps the biggest reason is that dual-SIM devices are popular in China and India, which represent the two most populous nations on Earth. China and India account for somewhere around 2.6 billion people, or a little better than one in every three people on the planet. So if something is popular in China and India alike, it stands to reason that it would be a major force on the planet.

But it's not just sheer population that's driving the dual-SIM concept. The benefits of the dual-SIM concept have been espoused by some for years, going back to 2011 and possibly earlier. The biggest benefit is that, with a dual-SIM phone, it becomes possible to have two smartphone accounts from the same phone. This makes it a natural pick for travelers, who can have a local SIM for a home market, and a second SIM for the market into which the user travels most. This, as explained by Strategy Analytics director Linda Sui, allows users to select the cheapest tariff rates for voice and data plans alike, even getting access to the best coverage without roaming charges.

Image via Shutterstock

There are some other good reasons to have a second SIM. For instance, a dual-SIM system is a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) doctrine's masterwork. Instead of switching phones—one for home and one for work—one device can have both functions contained therein. With a dual-SIM system, the user can just switch from work SIM to home SIM with little difficulty, which is great for helping keep the business bills business-related and the personal bills likewise. There's even value here in the event of an emergency; when one network goes down, another network may still be active, and a second SIM card is like an emergency access mechanism to that network.

With companies from Lenovo to Samsung making dual-SIM devices, it's not exactly hard to come by one of these right now. From safety to convenience to cost savings, a dual-SIM phone might be just the thing for those who do a lot of traveling or just have a need to make one phone serve two functions. Since the mobile workforce is also on the rise, it's a safe bet that the dual-SIM system will be a lot more popular as time goes on.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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