As the name suggests, a dual sim phone allows you to have two sims in a single phone. There are a variety of reasons why people may want access to two different phone numbers on a single device.
A dual sim phone could be of particular use to self employed people, freelancers and business owners who want to be able to handle personal and work calls separately, but don’t want to carry two different phones.
The facility to have separate numbers for work and personal contacts, with tailored voicemail messages can help you to be more professional and create a better impressions with potential customers. With dual sim phones seemingly solving a communications conundrum for many small business owners we asked telecoms expert, Dave Millett, to share his insight into them;
1 phone, 2 different phone numbers
For somebody who wants to keep their business phone number separate from their private numbers, dual sim devices enable contact lists to be keep separate and provide the ability to have two different voicemail greetings. This enables the user to quickly identify what type of call they are receiving, and act accordingly.
Dual sim phones can also have different types of sim cards, for example, one high in data for personal use and one high in calls for business use.
In a similar vein, there are people that run two different businesses and a dual sim phone enables them to have a single device rather than carrying an extra phone around. They can also help people who have good coverage at home on one network but there is no coverage on that network at their place of work.
Then there are people that regularly travel on business or have a second home abroad. A dual sim device enable them to have a UK sim and one for the country they are visiting reducing the risk of high roaming costs. Although the need for this in Europe will reduce post July 1, 2017 when roaming becomes free within the EU.
Dual sim phone drawbacks
There are some drawbacks with dual sim phones, many only allow one number to be used at a time i.e. when you are using one sim and a call comes in on the other number it is rejected.
Although some dual active models are coming through. Even with those though you can only use one sim for 3G or 4G access and some dual sim phones only let one sim slot support data access. So it is not as simple as it seems.
Why are dual sim phones rare in the UK
Despite the benefits they can bring dual sim phones are rarer in the UK than hen’s teeth. They are popular elsewhere but few go on sale here.
The mobile network operators have been known to put pressure on main stream manufacturers from producing them as they are concern about the impact on their revenues. In a recent review of the top 20 dual sim phones done by PC advisor only 1 of them was from a name most people will have heard of.
If you are a dyed in wool iPhone user then there is little chance of Apple making a dual sim device as they seem intent on removing things such as the earphone socket than adding to it.
Alternative ways to separate work and personal phone calls
In the absence of these phones other developers have created applications to give similar functionality to address the problems. For example, Whatsapp allows people to text and make calls when they are abroad without costs providing they have access to wifi.
Similarly, the growth of voice apps both residential such as Skype and Viber or VoIP based ones such as Bria enable you to have a second number on your phone with the advantage that it looks like a landline.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Dave Millett who runs Equinox, a leading independent communications brokerage and consultancy firm. Dave works with many companies, charities and other organisations and has helped them achieve savings of up to 80%. He also regularly advises telecom suppliers on improving their products and propositions.