April 8, 2009
According to Pyramid Research’s Q1 2009 mobile forecasts, Russia will add almost 10m new subscriptions this year. Considering that the market was nearing saturation at year-end 2008 with a penetration of 131% and is also being affected by the economic downturn, you might ask where all this growth is coming from. Well, one of the reasons behind the growth is M2M — but let’s take a closer look at the growing popularity of multi-SIM ownership and the whole array of sleek dual-SIM handsets.
Multi-SIM ownership in Russia has reached new heights: Many handsets from leading manufacturers support dual and even triple SIM features. Russia is perhaps the best example in Europe of the popularity of multi-SIM handsets. From the start, Russian mobile operators never locked handsets to their networks, so customers are used to benefiting from different operators’ SIMs on a daily basis. Three or four years ago, the first DIY “ghost SIM” cards offering dual-SIM connectivity appeared and have since gained wide recognition and popularity. Ghost SIMs allow users to save money by easily mixing the cheapest service rates of different providers (e.g., one operator offers the lowest SMS price and another one the lowest voice price) or having business and personal SIMs in one handset. This trend was quickly picked up by Asian handset vendors, such as Samsung and LG, and interestingly, Europe-based Fly Mobile. As of 2009, Samsung is the leading multi-SIM handset vendor in Russia.
Looking at the Web store of leading Russian handset retailer Euroset, I found 17 dual-SIM handsets, of which 11 are Samsung, three are Fly Mobile and one LG. The prices suit any budget: The most affordable one is Fly Mobile’s DS400 Duo at €95 (Rb4,190), and the most expensive one is Samsung’s GT-S9402 EGO Liquid Diamond at €1,095 (Rb48,990). Most of the handsets have 2 megapixel and higher cameras, EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth, a media player, and two-inch or larger TFT screens. The latest improvement in some of the handsets is the ability to switch SIMs through the phone menu, as opposed to having to switch the phone off and on with the older dual-SIM versions.
Dual-SIM extravaganza: Euroset offers 17 dual-SIM handsets
According to our estimate, there are 1.7 SIM cards per mobile user in Russia, but with the growing availability of high-quality multi-SIM handsets and the economy-driven desire to save on mobile calls and roaming, this number is set to continue growing.
— Bakhyt Weeks, Analyst, EMEA
Communications Markets in Russia
Country Intelligence Report published 2009
Russia’s telecom revenue reached US$37.2bn in 2008, but the market is looking increasingly saturated. Still, we expect it to be the fastest growing in Central & Eastern Europe. Mobile voice will remain the largest revenue segment for the forecast period, but growth of mobile voice revenue will still trail that of fixed voice. Despite the economic crisis, 3G services remain the greatest mobile opportunity. This Country Intelligence Report analyzes Russia’s communications, media and technology industries, including key trends, regulatory pressures and the competitive landscape, making it an excellent complement to our Forecast products.
Regional and Country-level Mobile Data Forecasts, Q1 2009
Forecasts published March 2009
Updated on a quarterly basis, our Mobile Data Forecast products provide complete pictures of demand trends for 81 geographical markets worldwide. The Excel output includes five years of historical data and five years of market projections for metrics such as penetration, mobile subscriptions (by type of package, by operator or MVNO and by network technology), users of specific data services (SMS, music, etc.), MOU, ARPS (by operator, by subscription type, by service, by application) and revenue (by messaging and non-messaging applications). The Forecasts are based on extensive field research and use a consistent methodology, aiming to capture the total spending on mobile data services in each market.
Mobile Advertising in Emerging Markets: Market Trends and Strategies for the Third Screen
Research Report published February 2009
Leading operators are pushing a variety of advertising methods, from sponsored messaging and alert services to more sophisticated content over mobile portals, and mobile advertising will markedly boost mobile data service revenue. This report looks at mobile advertising initiatives and the revenue potential in emerging markets, with a particular emphasis on Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. We also put our findings in context by making comparisons with global trends and developed markets, such as the US and UK.
Russian Federation Enhanced Handset Forecast
Forecast published January 2009
Pyramid Research provides the most in-depth country, regional and global forecasts available. Covering a wide array of Communications, Media and Technology segments in over 90 countries, we offer the most reliable and actionable analysis available by using our industry-unique methodology and bottom-up approach. Our forecast includes four years of historical data and six years of market projections based on our research. Pyramid Research provides various forecasts for over 100 countries. Each forecast is updated throughout the year and available for one-time delivery or with regular updates.