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SIM use in India is ‘Conveniently Chaotic’

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

A users ‘mobile number’ is often perceived to be the most active contact point he/she has. With email almost dead, platforms vie for a users mobile number (for multiple reasons) right at the registration stage itself, which users seemingly tend to share as well. However, all’s not that simple and there’s a lot more to it than what meets the eye.

SIM (mobile number) use in India can best be described as ‘conveniently chaotic’.

  • For one, new SIMs are easily and readily available, the use of ones Aadhaar to procure the same makes it a simple, easy and over the counter affair

  • Dual SIM phones is the norm

  • This encourages users to overstock as well as discard SIMs, in the blink of an eye. The reasons could range from something as simple as availing a temporary offer to having a backup SIM for official reasons, network non reliability etc

  • This abundance of SIMs at hand encourages and often translates into SIMs being passed down or handed around, within the family and sometimes beyond

  • Recycling of SIMs (mobile numbers), by providers themselves, is yet another aspect

While there is always an Alpha SIM, that stays with the user over time, security concerns often hold them back from sharing it with platforms, readily. Yet, at the same time the expectation of an OTP (one time password), to allay these very security concerns, is now standard practice. The mobile number shared with the platform is sometimes one that is either no longer in possession of the user or will no longer be, in the near future. An unconscious behaviour which is counter productive to the entire system/process.

Imaginably, this results in a less than desirable situation, especially when it comes to account verification and recovery.

With platforms and users separated on the spectrum of expected SIM decorum, finding a middle ground continues to remain the challenge.

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