Hi Dean, Tomi and Martin
In my opinion the key is to be able to offer similar advatages to its custmomers as the ones we can find on the market.
The first is, as Dean said, the wide range of scenarios pushing users to become multi-SIM owners. In order to improove the visibility on this topic, I am going to try to deepen on scenarios available (some of them you have already mention) and give some clues on how operators should proceed.
- Split personal and work (usage, bills...). For this there could be a solution such as SingTel offering 2 numbers in one only SIM card http://www.cellular-news.com/story/14803.php and I found on the net that most SIM cardscan manage two mobile numbers simultaneaously (if someone can confirm it could be great) http://forum.orange.fr/liremessages.php?idsection=1958&thread=23575 (sorry in French)
- Tariff arbitrage : This is more complex as scenarios very according to tariff plan schemes ad-ons available.
- On-net / off net tariff discrimination,
- Abondance offers (like unlimitted calls for a time frame), In Spain Orange launched unilimitted calls to any mobile and fixed (premium numbers not inluded) for 20 € / month from 6 ? pm to 8 am. So lot of people subcribed that offer keeping their old mobile number to place callsfrom 8 am to 6 pm and also receive calls all the day (because this continue to be their main mobile line).
- Exlusive paired numbers (Purchase Two SIM numbers and get ie: 1 cent à minute rate for ever (for calls made between those two numbers) this was extreamly succesful when AMENA (since 2006 Orange) launched its operations in Spain, Day plans versus evening plans,
- Frequent travellers, those frequent travallers. Vodafone in Italy offered Vodafone Five senza frontiere http://www.areaaziende.vodafone.it/190/trilogy/jsp/channelView.do?pageTypeId=9612&channelId=-8706&contentKey=26751&SR=1&SC=five+senza+frontiere or O2 with "Ireland bolt on"
For all this cases, operators should be able to offer the same tariff advantage than their competitors offer through specific tariff plans and adds -ons. As far as I remember, Orange did so in the UK with its Orange Value Promise (years ago).
Now this could mean that a customer could keep its "main" tariff plan and overlap it with an add-on following the same pricing scheme than the one that makes the use become multi-SIM. For instance, in Spain I am Movistar customer, If I am interested in evening unlimitted calls tariff plan I will subscribe (20 € / month) an Orange tariff plan. But, If Movistar provides an add-on with unlimitted calls "caeteris paribus" (same time frame and monthly subcription and conditions) I will subscribe that new add-on instead of taking a second mobile number.
This is to be studied in each country for each scenario but the key is to provide similar advantages to its customers.
- Multi equippement (laptop, mobile), here the solution should be the one pointed out by Dean, specific discounts for exisiting customers (3 UK).
- Coverage,this was true years ago (90s) and become important for 3G and 3G+ users (mainly for USB modem users), the only solution here it is to work on coverage and QoS.
On the other hand, to explain why operators are not very active fighting against that customer and income excape, I think they cannot say whom of their customers are milti-SIM owners. They should work on datamanning analysis. One exemple, I travel at least twice a month to France. And my operator Movistar send me always the same standard message when I am abroad reminding me that I can take advantage of tarif its Daily Tariff while abroad 1,15 € per day (only charged if I place or receive calls) and lower than standard rates per minute. But if they analyse my account they should appreciate that I almost never use my mobile Movistar line during my stays in France. So they should imagine that I have a French mobile line.
Another exemple for 3G laptop/dongles. I take from 4 to 8 fights per month mostly in week days. As I stay at the airport, the operator should be able to identify me as a professional or business men or whatever. They can check that I do not use data at all nethier I have a data plan with them. So the conclusion should be either I do not have or use a laptop while travelling (to access Internet) or I have another SIM card that I use while travelling....
Operators have a lot to do in this way. More efficient data proccessing to improove.
Other important factor is that operators are not willing to start a price war with its counterparts as they cannot calculate the consequences in termes of ARPU.
Finally regarding MVNOs, I would like to mention Transatel an international operator that offers advantageous tariffs for travellers in France, UK Netherlands, Luxembourg...).
That's all folks !