Understanding Dual-SIM Ecosystem In India


Dual-SIM devices are extremely popular in India and almost every manufacturer except Apple sells them at different price ranges. So why is there such a huge demand for Dual-SIM devices in India? Here is a deep dive into the Dual-SIM culture of India.

One of the main reasons for this is because buying a SIM card is cheap and convenient in India. You just have to pay a nominal amount, offer your ID documents and you’re good to go in a matter of few hours. One can even deactivate it without much hassle. There is no lockdown period or contract as such. This is unlike the West, where devices sell under contracts and people are bound to use one service provider for 2 to 3 years. Telecom operators also promoted pre-paid SIMs with “life-time free incoming plans”. That helps the demand for SIM cards.

Now let’s look at why people buy Dual-SIM devices?

Separate work and personal life

In today’s hectic life, a lot of people find it difficult to separate their personal and professional life. Having a Dual-SIM device easily lets you toggle between the two profiles. Hence, a lot of professionals in India settle for Dual-SIM devices. The other reason to have two numbers is if your job includes a lot of cold calling as you wouldn’t want your number being available to so many people. Instead of carrying two devices around which may seem inconvenient it is best to opt for a Dual-SIM device.


While roaming charges within India have come down, the international tariff is still costly. So while traveling to a different country or even a city, you can opt for a local card and yet maintain your local number. In this way, people can still contact you easily and you don’t have to message everyone your new number. You can even continue to use apps like WhatsApp when on WiFi and use the other number to make calls. Even in the same city, Dual-SIM devices can be advantageous because of coverage offered by operators varies from place to place. So having two different networks gives you a better chance of being connected than one.

A lot of devices are Dual SIM

 The graph below will show just how many Dual-SIM devices are available in India. And, the number is even higher in the budget and cheaper devices. Hence, there are high chances that when you purchase a device, it may come with two SIM slots by default, even if you don’t end up using both.

Separate plans

 In India, a lot of people to switch between mobile plans. This is because a company may be cheap for calling but expensive for data or vice versa. Also, at times lucrative offers come up and people avail of them for a stipulated period. Instead of changing their number or opting for Mobile Number Portability, having two SIM’s and a different plan active on each makes better sense. Manufacturers understand this and have been targeting users accordingly for years.

Now let us look at some numbers to show how popular Dual-SIM devices are in India. (Note: All data is as per that available on on 29th, March 2015) has tracked a total of 1126 products as of this date and we have done an extensive research for this report.

Page 1

 Key Insights:

  • 78.3% of all products tracked are Dual-SIM
  • Around 18% of products have a single SIM slot.
  • The devices with no SIM mainly consists of tablets (screen size greater than 7 inches)

Page 3 Key Insights: 

  • The average price of a Dual-SIM device is around 3.6 times lesser than that of a single SIM. The main reason for this is that most devices in the lower segment have two SIM slots while the higher end one (the flagships) don’t. Hence pulling the Dual SIM devices’ average price tag down. The other reason is the sheer number of devices that have two SIM slots. Since the number is so huge, the average is relatively lower.
  • The average of triple SIM devices are taken out of the total 7 products that are available. Out of the 7, only one runs on Android while the rest are proprietary and are priced under Rs. 2,500. Clearly, two SIM card slots are proving to be sufficient for most consumers.

Android is the most popular mobile operating systems in the world. Even in India, Android is a market leader with about 90% of the devices sold running it. So, let’s have a look at the number of Android devices that are Dual-SIM and also their average price.

Out of the total products tracked by (1126), 855 run on Android. This is almost 76%, which is a majority. To better understand the Android usage in India, do look at the India Android report.

Page 2

 Key Insights: 

  • 81.2% of Android devices come with two SIM slots.
  • Only 16.2% Android devices come with a single SIM slot.

Page 4

Key Insights: 

  • The cost of a Dual-SIM Android device is 3.5 times cheaper than that of a single SIM one while the a no SIM one is around 1.5 times more expensive.

Page 5

Key Insights: 

  • Most Indian manufacturers opt for Dual-SIM devices.
  • At 61 Dual-SIM devices, Karbonn tops the list of the manufacturers with the maximum number of Dual-SIM devices in the portfolio. They are closely followed by Micromax, Lava, and Xolo.
  • Brands like Micromax, Spice, Intex, Celkon only make Dual-SIM devices in their Android portfolio.
  • On the other hand, only 50% of Samsung’s Android devices have two SIM slots. Most of these devices are in the lower price ranges. For example, the Galaxy Core Prime and Galaxy Grand Prime are Dual-SIM devices from Samsung. Both of them cost below Rs. 15,000. The other 26 would include devices like the Galaxy S6, Galaxy Note 4, etc.
  • Lenovo, which is pricing devices aggressively in a bid to beat Xiaomi, surprisingly has quite a few single SIM devices.

Page 6

  • The YU Yureka by Micromax is the most looked at Dual-SIM device on our site. This is because there is huge demand for the device as it provides tremendous value for money.
  • There are 6 Samsung devices in the top 10 popular ones. All of them are priced under Rs. 15,000. This shows how Samsung devices are still very popular in India.
  • Xiaomi which is made its entry pretty late as compared to the other companies in the above list, still has 2 devices in the top 10.

 Additional Information:

  • Even though there is a high demand for flagship devices in India, none of the manufacturers launch a Dual-SIM variant of their flagships. So, if you want a device with high-end specs then most probably you will have to settle for a single SIM device.
  • As of today, the HTC One E8, selling for roughly Rs. 32,000 is the costliest Dual-SIM phone tracked by PriceBaba
  • When it comes to the cheapest Dual-SIM devices, the Micromax Joy series are the most inexpensive, starting at Rs. 699.
  • There are 30 tablets on our site that have two SIM slots.

Originally published by Medianama



Criselle Lobo

Criselle Lobo is an Associate Editor at She should have been writing code after her graduation, but destiny had other plans. She has an opinion on almost everything, but is open to other POVs too. You can connect with her on Twitter @criselle4.

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