NEW DELHI, SEPT 22: Tired of carrying two cellphones? Don?t worry. You will soon be able to use both your business and personal mobile numbers from a single handset. To be launched in 2007, a dual number service will be available on a single SIM card. But both the connections will have to be from one service provider.
The screen of a handset will display the receiver?s number and the caller's as well. Globally, T-Mobile in Germany and Vodafone and Telecom Italia in Italy offer this multi-line service. The UK?s Orange is also expected to launch the ?dual number, single handset service? in the next few months. In India, Ireland-based value-added services products company AePona is talking to operators like Bharti, BSNL, Reliance, Hutch and Idea to launch the service in the next 12 months.
The service promises to enhance ARPUs (average revenue per user) and reduce customer churn significantly. It can also work for both pre-paid and post-paid numbers simultaneously.
Nokia is also believed to have developed the application, which is in the testing phase. Alcatel has developed another kind of multi-line solution that allows a subscriber to shift between tariff plans, depending upon day- or night-use. Dual number use with two SIM cards, however, is widely in use. In this, a device called the dual SIM card adapter, which costs between $15-$60, can be inserted in a phone to hold two cards. But subscribers need to switch off their mobile phones to move from one number to another. This service has not been very popular amongst the 700-odd mobile operators the world over. They fear it can lead to a churn.
There are also mobile phones like the Daewoo DX20, which can carry two SIM cards. ?The dual number service, however, uses an application that's inserted in the network. So, when a call comes to either of the numbers, it is routed to the same SIM. The cost of deployment will be about $1-2 million for a small operator and will increase as the operator keeps on adding subscribers,? says AePona?s global VP marketing Michael Crossey.