Indians' biggest fear? Losing their handphones

Indian consumers face the hassle of having to cancel the SIM and re-applying for a new one, which now takes a longer time to complete, among other inconveniences if they lose their handsets.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

A recent study, which polled 8,000 Indians spanning different social profiles and geographies, revealed that the biggest fear for them is to lose their mobile phones. This is ahead of being struck in traffic, or even losing their wallet or purse and keys. The loss of contact numbers, personal data, and images from a mobile device are the obvious reasons for the fear.

This happened to me a few years ago and it was nerve-wracking. I had gone out for a walk early in the morning, and stopped along the way for early morning tea. I took out my mobile phone--a basic Nokia Music Express--and left it there. About five minutes later, I realized I had left my phone behind, but by the time I retraced my steps, it was already gone.

Sure, I lost my contact details and messages on that mobile phone and SIM card. However, I wasn't overly concerned as I had my phone synced to my laptop. Except for the messages, I had a backup of almost all the contacts.

As for images, no worries there either as I had routinely downloaded my images to my desktop and I didn't have any questionable or offensive pictures and videos to begin with. These are just a few of the common issues most people would face when losing their handsets.

However, in India, you need to take immediate action by canceling the SIM card and, if the phone was stolen, report the theft and phone number to the local authorities. The reason is simple: you don't want to be held liable for the actions and conduct of someone else using your mobile phone.

What's more, the process of registering for and activating a new SIM card has recently been changed. This meant an employee from a telco had to physically visit the customer's place of residence or address listed to verify the accuracy of the information, thus making it a longer process than the few hours it took previously.

After the incident, I scaled down and bought a very basic Tata Samsung phone, which incidentally had better clarity and reception than my earlier Nokia devie. Sure, it was a no frills phone, but I needed it simply to make calls and send messages.

And thats just it for the majority of Indians: they just need phones to make calls and send messages. Furthermore, the majority of people within India--a country with a growing population of 1.2 billion--either don't need or have the means to buy an expensive smartphone.

For many, having a mobile device is now a necessity they cannot live without, as many rural areas and villages don't have proper landlines. On the other end of the spectrum, there will be wealthier residents who can afford to spend a fortune on their handsets. 

Regardless of which camp one belongs to, losing a mobile phone in India is definitely not a fun experience.

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