A study (pdf) by Nielsen India suggests that 71 million subscribers use Multiple SIM cards across India: and that there are only 13% (9.23 million) multi-SIM users that have made a call/recharged their  number in last 90 days.  This has been estimated from surveying nearly 20,000 mobile users in the 18-55 age group across 18 Indian cities, across population strata. (hat tip Pluggd.in)

Notes from the report

– Handset Marketshare: As per the report, among 14% of Multi-SIM card users who plan to buy a new handset, 75% intend to choose a dual SIM card handset. Nokia, the Finnish handset maker, is leading the multi-SIM handset market with 30% of total multi-SIM handset market share closely followed by Samsung with 16% market share. Micromax, a local player, shares 12% of the market share.

– 31% of subscribers decided to go for multi-SIM for better data/plans/offers while only 8% chose it for privacy reasons. 10% chose it to stay connected all the time and 8% to ensure they received network all the time.

– The report also states that  for every 2 out of 5 multi-SIM users (40%), expenses have remained consistent and only 12% users have reported a substantial rise in costs. Users prefer to keep both SIM cards as prepaid to have a better control on costs as well as to capitalize on monthly deals offered by operators.

– 42% of working professionals, and 24% of students prefer to opt for multi-SIM followed by housewives (14%) and businessmen(8%).

– It’s interesting to note that multi-SIM usage tops in smaller towns with 5-10L of population at 21% while is only at 11% areas with 40L+ of population.

– Smaller telecom operators have a relatively higher share among Multi-SIM card users. While Uninor has just 1 percent market share (as per data from TRAI) among mobile users as of December 2011, it goes up to 6 percent when it comes to multi-SIM user share (as per survey from Nielsen India).

Also note that while Airtel has a higher marketshare of multi-SIM connections  (25%) than it does overall marketshare (21%), Vodafone’s multi-SIM marketshare (15%) is lower than its overall marketshare (17%), indicating relatively lower multi-SIM  connections. Uninor has 6% of the multi-SIM user market, while 1% of the overall market.

Sampling Methodology

Nielsen informs us that thay conducted a face to face survey using a structured questionnaire: “Random Sampling was followed to cover households belonging to SEC A- D across 18 cities. Even Geographical spread was used in identifying the starting addresses across the cities selected. Households without a mobile phone were out of the purview of the survey. The listing helped arrive at the penetration of Multi Sim Users. Respondents were Male/Female between ages 18- 55 yrs”