GSMA reveals reasons for decline in multiple SIM

Multiple SIM ownership has declined slightly in recent years, and will decline in coming years, said GSMA.

Smartphone penetration and mobile Internet adoption have fuelled usage of online communications services. As a result, mobile consumers will not hold multiple SIMs to benefit from price differentials between rival operators, said GSMA at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2016).

Improving network coverage means subscribers are less likely to require a different SIM to ensure connectivity when moving within a country.

Many telecom markets now have policies to disconnect SIMs that are deemed inactive. Late adopters’ to mobile are typically unlikely to be heavy users and therefore less likely to use multiple SIMs.

Additional one billion people will connect to mobile networks by 2020, bringing the total to 5.6 billion – equivalent to 72 percent of the expected global population

Unique subscriber growth is expected to slow over this period compared to previous years as many markets approach saturation point. The number of unique mobile subscribers worldwide in 2015 was 4.7 billion, equivalent to 63 percent of population.

The industry added 1.4 billion new subscribers between 2010 and 2015. The vast majority of the expected one billion new subscribers over the next five years will come from developing world markets.

China and India will account for 45 percent of the subscriber increase over the next five years. China and Brazil could be approaching saturation point by 2020. Growth opportunities will largely involve connecting mainly rural, low-income populations.

Mobile operators need to unlock new growth opportunities in areas such as 5G, M2M and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The telecom research report today said M2M connections are accounting for an increasing share of net additions in many developed markets. The development and rollout of 5G will further enable operators to play a growing role in the range of industries that are increasingly becoming part of the broader mobile ecosystem.

There were 7.3 billion mobile connections (excluding M2M) at the end of 2015, which means that the 4.7 billion subscribers reached by this point accounted for, on average, 1.46 connections (SIMs) each.

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