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dual sim phonesEver heard of dual SIM phones? My guess is you probably have. I can also guess you know what dual SIM phones are; after all, it’s not very hard to understand that a dual SIM phone has two SIMs. If you’re anything like me, though, this is about as far as you got. Have you ever seen a phone with two SIM cards? What are they even good for? Could they be useful for you? And if so, when, and why?

All these are very good questions, which for some reason, I never really bothered to ask myself, let alone find the answers to. Turns out that dual SIM phone are not as rare as you might think, and not only that, they can be pretty useful in specific situations. Can it be useful for you? Could it be worth buying? Read on to find out!

So What’s A Dual SIM Phone, Exactly?

The easy explanation is, of course, a phone with two SIM cards. To put it simply, it’s much like having two separate phones in one device. Each SIM can be connected to a different provider, or a different phone line from the same provider, and both will be active on the same device.

dual sim phones

There are some differences between dual SIM devices, however, which are important to know about. An active dual-SIM phone has the ability to support two active SIMs at the same time. This means you will receive calls and texts from both lines, and will be able to toggle between the two SIMs with a push of a button. Some even support the ability to hold a single conversation with two callers on two different lines. These are the majority of dual SIM phones you can find today.

Another kind of dual SIM phone you should know about, is the standby dual SIM phone. With this kind of phone, you need to switch between SIMs in order to activate them. So basically, your phone is only connected to one network at a time, but you can easily switch without having to remove and replace the SIM. Today, you can see this mostly in dual SIM adapters for devices that don’t support dual SIM, such as the iPhone. If you look around, you can find all kinds of gadgets that give the iPhone dual SIM abilities.


Fun fact: the very first dual SIM phone was made in 2000, by Finnish GPS company Benefon. It’s name was the Benefon Twin, and it looked a lot like the old Nokia devices of yore.

Can I get A Dual SIM Smartphone?

dual simUp until recently, most dual SIM phones were sold in developing countries. Popular especially in China and India, many of the phone that supported dual SIM were lower-end devices that were also very affordable. This is starting to change now, and these days it’s easier to find dual SIM phones in Europe, and even in North America.

Well-known manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung and HTC, have recently come out with several dual SIM devices, some of which even run Android. Some examples you can check out are the Samsung Galaxy S Duos and Galaxy Aces Duos, the HTC Desire VC, and the Nokia C2-03.

Note that most dual SIM devices are naturally more battery hungry. Some phones come with larger batteries, and some just don’t last as long when using two SIMs.

What Are Dual SIM Phones Good For?

Good question. So why would you even want a dual SIM phone? There are three major reasons to want one:

Two Lines

Do you have a work phone and a private phone? Do you need to separate your business and private calls? There are many reasons to want or need two separate lines, and two SIMs in one device can be much more convenient than carrying two phones everywhere you go. This way, you can always be available on both of your lines, without any extra worry.

dual sim

Don’t forget! Make sure you know which line calls are coming from. You wouldn’t want to answer your boss while drunk at a party!


If you travel a lot, a dual SIM device can come in very handy. If you’ve ever travelled with your mobile device, you know you sometimes have no choice but to get a local SIM for data and calls. But what if you want to remain available on your home line as well? With a dual SIM phone, you can use data and make calls on the cheap using the local SIM, but stay available for incoming calls and text messages with your old home number. Pretty useful.

Don’t forget! Make sure you don’t pay a fortune for incoming calls on your home SIM!

Taking Advantage of Two Different Deals

dual sim phones

This one is for those who really want to go the extra mile. Sometimes you can find a really good deal for data with one provider, and an excellent deal for calls and texts with another. Most of us just find a good place in the middle and call it quits, but another way is to get a dual SIM device and enjoy both deals. If the plan doesn’t make you pay a monthly fee, and if the SIM cards themselves don’t cost too much, this could be an excellent way to get the best of both worlds.

Don’t forget! Set the right default action to the right SIM, if possible. If not, you’ll need to make sure you’re always using the right SIM.

Bottom Line

While not right for everyone, dual SIM phones are gaining in popularity all over the world. Even if you can’t find a good one right now, the options are bound to become better and better.

If you already have two phones, travel a lot, or like saving money in original ways, you might really want to consider a dual SIM phone. If none of the above is true, you probably don’t need two SIMs in your phone, but hey, it’s always nice to learn new things!

Do you own a dual SIM device? Did you use to own one? Are you considering getting one at some point? Tell us everything in the comments.

Image Credit: renaissancechambara, hiyori13, woman with two phones image via Shutterstock

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