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Multi-SIM smartphones to enhance your 5G experience

Never heard of a multi-SIM phone? Here’s why you need one.

Nov 18, 2019

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

If you’ve ever wished there was a simpler way to manage personal and work phones without the burden of carrying two separate devices, you’re not alone. Phones that support more than one SIM card — also known as dual-SIM or multi-SIM phones — allow users to have two independent SIM cards on the same device.

Multi-SIM phones give you greater flexibility and a wider range of choices for using data, voice, and text services on different phone numbers. For example, you can assign one SIM card to be the primary SIM, which you use for data and voice, and assign the secondary SIM to receiving calls and text messages only. Or you can assign one SIM to voice-only services and the other for data and voice. Being aware of the strength of the signals on both SIM connections also gives you additional options to assign the appropriate function (data, text, voice etc.) to one of the SIMs, based on the best available signal in a given location.

The benefits of a multi-SIM phone

The benefits of using a multi-SIM phone include convenience, flexibility, mobility as well as basic economics. Let’s look at some scenarios in which you’d benefit from multi-SIM capabilities:

Using local and roaming SIMs in the same device

Imagine that your airline flight just landed. You power on your multi-SIM phone to check messages and with a push of a button your primary SIM card has full functionality for the country that you just landed in while still having the capability to view messages and calls from the country you just left. This eliminates the need for specialized international plans and ensures that you’re always connected, never missing a beat as you browse the internet, answer emails, and make calls internationally. Global travelers can also use SIM cards to stay connected in countries they frequently visit, even when they’re not physically there.

Improved network coverage

Different networks have different coverage areas. It’s not uncommon to be in a location where phones on network A have a signal while phones on network B don’t. Having two SIMs gives you an advantage over having just one. If you are using SIM cards from different network operators, you can easily compare the signal strengths for both networks. If you happen to be somewhere where the coverage of your secondary SIM is better than the coverage of your primary SIM, you can seamlessly switch from one SIM to the other and connect to the stronger signal.

Flexibility for users

The ability to port a phone number to multiple carriers may not be available in some countries. Wanting to keep a phone number may limit you to staying with your current network provider. A multi-SIM phone can help you transition to a new phone number: You could get a new SIM and use it along with your existing SIM, remaining reachable on your old phone number while transitioning to a new number.  

Dollars and cents

You can mix and match SIM cards to create the ideal pricing plan for yourself, having the option of using more than one SIM card from either the same or different operators. This ability to mix and match SIM cards on the same phone enables you to choose SIM cards with the capabilities and pricing plans you desire. For example, standard SIM cards offer full functionality while data-only SIMs have limited functionality and are typically less expensive. This allows you to get a cheaper data-only SIM for browsing, social media, and gaming while using another SIM to receive calls and text. This gives you more flexibility in terms of data usage and cost.

Qualcomm Snapdragon global multi-SIM

Creating a multi-SIM solution for 5G introduces new design challenges relative to LTE. With 5G deployments, new RF bands and network configurations need to be supported for not only one SIM, but two SIM cards on the same device. This makes the design requirements significantly more complex than LTE and older technologies. With a long history of providing superior multi-SIM solutions to our chipset customers, Qualcomm Technologies introduced 5G multi-SIM support in the world’s first announced commercial 5G chipset —Snapdragon X50 5G Modem-RF System. 5G multi-SIM capabilities are available in all Snapdragon 5G mobile platforms, including the soon-to-come lower tier 5G chipsets.

The global 5G multi-SIM solution from Qualcomm Technologies is designed to deliver best-in-class cellular performance, coverage and power-efficiency, supporting all key regions and frequency bands including mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum — providing consumers the flexibility to use Snapdragon multi-SIM devices in virtually any country they wish and helping enable 5G network operators to deploy globally.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blogpost which will detail how Qualcomm Technologies is solving RF challenges for global 5G multi-SIM.


Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Mutaz Shukair

Staff Product Manager, Qualcomm Technologies