At long last, Apple is planning a dual-SIM iPhone

At long last, Apple is planning a dual-SIM iPhone

Apple could release its first-ever dual SIM iPhone this year, in a move which would be a boon for business travellers.

A report from Bloomberg places a twin-SIM iPhone X or iPhone 9 on the company's launch list for 2018, which is said to include an upsized iPhone X – codenamed D33 – with a  screen close to 6.5 inches, making it "one of the largest mainstream smartphones on the market" thanks to an edge-to-edge display.

But among many other teasing details, the kicker is that "at least some regions, Apple is considering offering a dual-SIM card option for the larger model."

"That would let people use their phones in countries with different carrier plans without having to swap out cards."

Bloomberg cites markets in Europe and Asia "where business people routinely visit multiple countries," although the adoption of pan-European roaming has pretty much put the kibosh on SIM swapping for residents and many travellers.

However, dual-SIM smartphones are certainly popular in Asia and also with road warriors who regularly flit between their home territory and different Asian countries.

Several leading manufacturers of Android smartphones – among them Samsung and Sony – sell dual-SIM models only in selected overseas countries, although others including Huawei and LG offer dual-SIM devices on the Australian market.

But don't get too excited at the thought of swapping nano-SIMs in and out of your next-gen iPhone: Apple could hold off on using physical SIM cards in favour of eSIM technology, which connect a phones to multiple networks without the need for a removable chip – although undoubtedly with a price premium for switch-on-and-connect convenience.

"Apple has wanted to offer eSIM technology – it already exists in the iPad and Apple Watch – but some carriers are resistant to including it in iPhones, and Apple needs their support," Bloomberg notes. "A dual-SIM capability would provide a compromise."

Read more: New Apple, Samsung SIM-free phones could transform global roaming 

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

13 comments

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    27 Feb, 2018 11:04 am

    Lol Apple introducing a feature which dates back to 2000
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  • P1

    P1

    28 Feb, 2018 03:32 pm

    and they'll claim they invented it and its a world first.
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    27 Feb, 2018 01:29 pm

    I'll be shocked if this actually materialised. Apple has been putting a lot of pressure on telecommunications companies to embrace the "virtual sims". A dual-sim card phone is at cross-purposes with Apple's grand plans.
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    MattJelonek

  • moa999

    moa999

    27 Feb, 2018 01:32 pm

    Definitely needed for China where people often have two SIMs for cheaper calls, as on network calls are cheaper.

    Doubt we will ever see them generally available in Aus and certainly not carrier subsidised
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    27 Feb, 2018 02:48 pm

    This comment shows an ignorance of the situation in China.

    1) Only a tiny proportion of its 1.3 billion population can afford a US$1,000+ iPhone. Those rich enough to afford one aren't going to be pinching pennies.
    2) Most of China uses WeChat to communicate, including making calls over data.
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  • James Barker

    James Barker

    27 Feb, 2018 03:34 pm

    I think moa999 is talking about business travellers to China, not local Chinese residents. Yes WeChat is insanely popular there but there is still a lot of normal voice calling going on, especially for business, and I believe that intra-network calls are much cheaper if not free for a limited number of minutes compared to cross-network calls,
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    27 Feb, 2018 04:23 pm

    Patently wrong.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    27 Feb, 2018 03:39 pm

    eSIMs are definitely the holy grail for Apple and I suspect a lot of telcos too, but I wonder if they would or could support two eSIMs at once? That's the thing I want – to be able to be on a local SIM deal in say Hong Kong with free local calls + texts and an outrageous amount of 4G data, but also have my Aussie number remain live for incoming calls and texts from AU.
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  • MarkJohnSon

    MarkJohnSon
    Banned

    27 Feb, 2018 04:18 pm

    David, the issue with the virtual sims is the telcos themselves. At least in America, they have been reluctant to move towards that direction as it will make it significantly easier for consumers to churn provider by removing the need to physically procure a SIM card, and, presumably, being able to do it quickly and simply right on your mobile.
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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    27 Feb, 2018 09:02 pm

    God they are getting desperate to keep the fanboys coming back!
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  • David Lupton

    davidlupton

    28 Feb, 2018 03:12 pm

    I know people in Philippines and other countries use multiple SIM to take advantage of deals offered by the different networks, We frequent travellers wouldnt need fdual sims if roaming charges were less extortionate. Charging multiple dollars per minute for calls that cost cents with a local sim is clearly excessive. Data charges can be the killer - the telco's in NZ charge $10/MB in Vietnam but only 10c/MB in China. They claim that this is the charge from the local provider, but the fact that the same $10 rate applies in several disparte countries seems to give this the lie. Wouldnt it be great if we could get the benefit of roaming without the high charges, it would unleash the power of the phone.
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  • daft009

    daft009

    28 Feb, 2018 03:58 pm

    you can come close with the Singapore starhub prepaid sim.. great for AU, NZ and most of Asia

    I always keep one handy, even to use here in AU as a backup as it roams to Telstra (if by chance I'm out somewhere where Optus has no reception)
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  • Russjking

    Russjking

    21 Apr, 2018 02:25 pm

    Two SIMs sounds good but it depends what the second SIM can do - most on the market offer 2G (which has been faded out in Australia now) or at most a poor 3G.
    I have a Moto G Play which has one 4G and one 3G for between here and the UK - at the time my research said it was the only one with a decent second SIM performance.
    If iPhone do 4G+4G then I'd be back to them - all my Aussie and UK apps would work on one phone. AT the moment, some apps are restricted to the country where the account is, and you can't change account more frequently than every 90 days.
    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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19 Jul, 2019 10:48 pm

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