#2 – Why Apple just does not get Asia!

I have complained about Apple’s one-phone–fits-all” strategy in previous posts. This strategy just doesn’t work in Asia (although there are now rumors of a low cost iPhone on the horizon). Samsung has proven that the demand for a range of phone options – from low cost to high end – is driving consumer choice here. Samsung has a reported 80% of the smartphone market in China, and some of the locals in China have nicknamed the iPhone 5 as the iPhone 4L :-)

Over the past few months, there has been another interesting trend emerging: Dual SIM Support. Now these are not new, but it looks like Dual SIM is about to become the norm here. Mobile phones with Dual SIM support have been around for a number of years, but they were usually evil, no-name brand phones with dodgy keypads, and which never seem to work reliably.

Recently, Asia has started to climb onto the dual SIM bandwagon. You walk into a mobile phone shop here and by default, most of the phones are Dual SIM, and not just the no-names. Samsung, Alcatel, Sony, and LG are now in the Dual SIM game Samsung has even branded their Dual SIM support as DUOS(tm).

It a very noticeable change.

Android Dual Sim Support is Mature
Under the cover, the chip manufactures have had the dual sim hardware technology worked out for a while – but the phone’s interface has been lacking in both usability and reliability. With the latest Android updates there is good support for dual sims. Send a Message – select which sim, in the settings choose which SIM is used for which function, etc.

Why Dual Sim?
In developed countries, most income levels are high enough that many people don’t really care too much how much they are paying for telcom services. The pain and hassle of having two different phone numbers on different carriers outweighs the cost savings. Asia is different.

Some Examples
In the Philippines, the 2 major carriers are SMART and GLOBE
With GLOBE it costs 1 peso (2 cents) to send a TXT message to someone on another network, or 0.5 peso (1 cent) if you send to someone within the GLOBE network. While cents to us sounds crazy inexpensive, here the minimum wage is about $200/mth., making each penny quite significant.

With SMART, for 25 Peso (50 cents) you can get unlimited call & texts to other SMART users and 20 texts to GLOBE for a 24 hour period.

These numbers show uswhy people here have two phones, or at least 2 SIM cards.

I don’t think you’ll see Apple joining the Dual SIM bandwagon anytime soon. There just isn’t the demand for it in their primary markets, and Apple’s telco deals wouldn’t be conducive to multiple carriers on one handset. So yet again, another small paper cut for Apple.

Now where is my Apple iWatch?

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