Vimpelcom (Beeline) has refused to give free SIM-cards to customers who sign a contract, or purchase devices at its retail. MegaFon has decreased the number of these SIM-cards.
Operators are making savings due to rising costs of SIM-cards and a shortage in chips. This could have a negative effect on subscriber growth. Participants in the market admit that this measure is temporary. Companies will continue to distribute SIM cards as soon as they become available.
MTS claims that it has “long abandoned the large increase in subscriber base, focusing instead on customer loyalty and decreasing their outflow.” Tele2 did not respond.
Operators have seen their prime cost for SIM-cards rise 2.5 times in the last six months. In addition, the cost of logistics has increased. One source said that the rise in SIM card prices occurred against the backdrop a global shortage.
Operators bought SIM cards from foreign suppliers (Gemalto Giesecke + Devrient, GigSky), which led to an increase of their costs. Sim-cards are in short supply and their prices have risen. Operators aren’t ready to spend large amounts of money in order to attract new customers due to the economic crisis.
According to estimates, gift SIM cards will account for approximately 10-20% in total sales by 2021.