Jun 8, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Multi-SIM devices have a been around for a long time now, giving users the ability to use two SIM cards in one mobile device. With multi-SIM the user has the flexibility to subscribe to data and voice plans from more than one operator using the same mobile device, allowing for powerful use cases such as managing personal and work numbers on the same device, or optimizing monthly subscription costs.
Historically, multi-SIM phones have seen strong demand in certain regions of the world, however, they have recently been gaining traction globally. Where economic factors are not the deciding criterion to own a multi-SIM device, such demand is driven by ease of use and availability of multi-SIM features on the latest flagship phones from dominant smartphone OEMs.
Now, multi-SIM capability is a key feature in our Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems: the Snapdragon X60, Snapdragon X55, Snapdragon X52 and Snapdragon X50.
Crafting a premium 5G multi-SIM user experience
The multi-SIM capability is relatively complex and involves the interaction of various modules in the modem-RF system (sometimes referred to as the chipset). The modem-RF system design needs to manage two different networks and subscriptions simultaneously, while providing users with a seamless experience on both subscriptions. The design should account for virtually all possible scenarios of network configurations across geographies, SIM card combinations, and user preferences.
Essentially, a connection to a multi-SIM device should perform like a single-SIM device in terms of data throughput, power consumption, page reliability and other performance metrics. Therefore, the modem-RF implementation and underlying algorithms play a critical role in optimizing the user experience.
In addition, the device needs to support multiple generations of Radio Access Technologies (RAT) across both SIM cards, from 5G and 4G to legacy generations, and may need to connect to the same or different generations of technologies simultaneously.
Our 5G chipsets allow OEMs to design multi-SIM phones that enable users to connect to virtually any 5G network in any geography as they travel, while delivering the same premium user experience in multi-SIM.
The aspects of a 5G multi-SIM phone that typically matter most to the end user are:
- Global mobility
- User Experience
- Device cost
The 5G multi-SIM solution in Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems is built with global mobility in mind, allowing OEMs to design 5G devices that operate with multi-SIM across various network deployments. Key design considerations for achieving global mobility are:
- Multiple RF Band Concurrency
- Support of various 5G network configurations
- Multiple RAT support
Multiple RF band concurrency
With multiple SIMs, supporting global mobility is more challenging. In addition to supporting global bands and varying available bandwidths, the modem-RF system also needs to support frequency bands that can operate simultaneously over two SIMs. This requires having extensive RF front-end capability to support the needed concurrency while mitigating any potential RF co-existence issues.
Support of various 5G network configurations
A key aspect of global mobility is the support of various 5G network configurations, which allows users to travel freely and still utilize virtually any 5G network deployment.
The global 5G multi-SIM solution in Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems supports both NSA and SA 5G network configurations, where deployments may involve TDD, FDD or both TDD and FDD bands. Support of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequency bands is also key for achieving a truly global 5G multi-SIM solution.
Multiple RAT support
A phone with multi-SIM is required to support multiple technologies at any point of time and have the capability to allow transitions of various RATs across the two SIMs. For example, the phone may be connected to 5G NR and GSM simultaneously in one location, and with user mobility, the phone needs to be able to transition to 5G NR and WCDMA.
5G global multi-SIM support in Snapdragon 5G platforms helps maximize connectivity to various network combinations, enabling phones to be compatible to multiple dual network configurations simultaneously.
Uncompromised 5G UX while using Snapdragon 5G global multi-SIM phones
Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G global multi-SIM solution is designed to maximize user experience when connected to 5G and minimize the impact of simultaneously managing two SIMs. 5G multi-SIM is designed to maximize the utilization of the OEM design, to provide similar experience when compared to single-SIM devices while optimizing power, throughput, and page detection.
5G multi-SIM with low integration cost
A 5G multi-SIM solution must also help reduce the integration effort for OEMs, which reflects eventually on the device cost; and ability of OEMs to accelerate design time. Having a comprehensive solution that encompasses baseband, RF transceiver, RF front-end, and optimized software enables mobile device OEMs build high-performance global multi-SIM devices quickly, and at scale. Furthermore, our advanced antenna tuning technologies help improve multi-SIM concurrency and reliability.
Qualcomm Technologies’ solution enables multi-SIM devices allowing flexible use during travel, roaming or home use in virtually any geographical area. The intersection between global compatibility and multi-SIM capability greatly expands the set of global mobility use cases, bringing better experiences to more users globally.