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MEA users want more SIM cards: MediaTek

Company says customers want up to four SIM cards in single handset to take advantage of multiple network offers

MEA users want more SIM cards: MediaTek
Many users are turning to multiple SIMs to access different services at different prices.

Leading mobile and wireless fabless semiconductor company MediaTek, has conducted a survey which has revealed there is a huge demand in the Middle East and Africa region for mobile phones that will support up to four SIM cards.

MediaTek conducted the survey with over 100 stores across the MEA region.

MediaTek was one of the first handset solutions providers to enable a multi-SIM feature for local handset vendors in the region and across the world.

The demand for multiple SIM cards stems from the high costs of roaming and an increase in mobile operator and subscriber promotions in the MEA region.

"Competition in the local handset market is intense, and for local brands a multi-SIM feature proves to be a key differentiator for their products, especially in the switch from 2G to 3G," said Arthur Wang, head of Emerging Market Business Development, MediaTek. "From an end-use perspective, this not only leads to cost savings, but also better call reception and signal. Users no longer need to switch handsets in order to swap their SIM cards."

The MENA region has over 227 mobile phone operators, with over 50% of subscribers on pre-paid plans, according to MediaTek.

MediaTek has worked at lowering the entry barrier to the mobile phone market by reducing phone manufacturing times from nine months to three months and reducing the costs of handsets.

"As operators face stiff competition, attractive subscriber plans is what is most likely to appeal to pre-paid users. This is a key factor for consumers who want to have multiple SIM cards to avail of different promotions and plans from different operators. Leading mobile phone manufacturers will incorporate these chips to power their latest phones and address the needs of a key market segment. By integrating these features in its mobile chips, MediaTek is able to reduce the manufacturing time and costs for local partners, and cater to the price sensitivities of each customer," said Wang.

The subscriber survey also revealed a demand for more Islamic features to be incorporated in handsets.

To address this demand, MediaTek has developed a series of software specifically for the region's Islamic community, which include features such as; the Hijri Calendar, Zakat Calculator and the Qibla E- Compass.

The company is currently undertaking aggressive expansion in emerging markets and opened its Dubai office in March 2011 to better support and service local brands in the MEA region.

"We are investing in R&D in the region to help us design mobile chip features that appeal to end users and make manufacturing easier and more cost-effective for our local partners," added Wang.


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