By Muhammad Yasir
KARACHI: Branded handset manufacturers with their exclusive brands are planning to penetrate local retail market through low-cost handsets with dual SIMs features, unveiling aggressive marketing and sales campaigns against China-made handsets.
In an effort to tap full potential of the local market, Nokia, Samsung and LG have already geared up for penetration—just weeks after the government’s announcement of banning imports of handsets—particularly China-made without IMEI numbers.
The phone makers are taking this as an opportunity to revive their share in the local market—which used to be prominent in Pakistan some five years back—and increase their sales of low-cost and dual SIM handsets.
These dual-SIM branded handsets were available in limited markets via grey channels but official launches in Pakistan will boost the sale, as handsets will be imported in bulk quantity for local shops. The branded handsets makers now with their massive adverts campaign will cash in on the cautious attitude of buyers and traders avoiding Chinese sets without IMEI numbers following the strict statement issued by Interior Minister Rahman Malik.
Branded handsets makers’ advertisement and marketing drive is likely to provide them an edge in the current situation.
Market dealers said low-cost handsets costing less than $100 or Rs 8,500 make up around 80 percent of the Pakistani mobile market share. Therefore the China-made handsets have been able take the lion share of the market with their low-cost and facilitative features compared with branded sets, which stick to offering various features at comparatively high prices. However, to tackle this, branded markers are coming up with low-cost handsets having multiple SIM features. The price ranges from Rs 2,700 to Rs 5,000 per unit. Dealers from the local market said that China-made sets have captured more than 70 percent of the local market’s share because of its low-cost, dual SIM mode and different entertaining features. On the other hand, issues with their battery timing and life are not guaranteed as compared to Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericson, Motorola and LG handsets. The new handsets range is likely to get consumers’ attention as the makers offer low-cost sets with multiple entertaining and facilitative features amid long-lived guarantee. The features such as dual SIM, bluetooth, memory card SD, long battery life, torch, FM radio, video player, camera are mostly in fashion, which are attractive for a large number of customers. “The Nokia X1-01 and Nokia C2-00 pack more memory, better battery life and far richer SIM change and entertainment features than other dual SIM products currently in the market,” said Imran Khalid Mehmood, Country General Manager, Nokia Pakistan & Afghanistan.
“In addition to their various unique features, both of these phones remember the settings for up to five separate SIM cards, each of which can be personalised with a dedicated name as well as preferred SIM settings. ONLY Nokia can offer this level of convenience in Dual SIM phones,” he further said. Dual handsets trend is growing in Pakistan and all over the world due to attractive call and SMS tariff offers of multiple cellular operators, said Zeeshan Quershi, Head of Sales Samsung Electronics Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Dual handsets are likely to increase the share of branded handsets in the local market owing to their high quality and durable live compared with Chinese-handsets,” he added.
Pakistan has been ranked top among the regional countries in 2010 with the highest number of cellular phone subscribers having more than one connection of different operators, Lirneasia study reported recently.
As per the estimates, the subscribers possessing multiple SIMs are estimated to mark 23 percent share in the overall stated base of the country. The finding reflected the number of mobile phone users carrying multiple SIMs cards have been estimated to increase more than 24 million in the overall base of 105 million by Feb 2010.
Subscribers use multiple SIMs to avail the best offers of the cellular operators in terms of services tariff, network quality and free hours on-net call packages, which is specified for limited numbers normally called as Friend and Family numbers. Majority of the customers utilise one operator’s services as their prime network whereas they own SIMs of other networks to enjoy tariff of different operators. Daily Times