Short answer – no. Certainly not this year, and it could be a lot longer if ever before we see it.
Let’s look at the concept of a Dual SIM phone – nothing new, many companies make them – in fact MOST companies make them.
The Dual SIM allows a phone owner to have two separate SIM cards, and operate them as SIM 1 and SIM 2 on their phone.
Calls to either number will come through, and you the owner can choose one of them to be the primary SIM which you use for calls, and perhaps choose the other one as the primary SIM for data.
Or you might just have the second SIM so people can call you on that “other” number. All good.
You might also have a great SIM plan with a telco that does overseas call rates, and you like calling your family overseas – all valid reasons for a Dual SIM phone.
The issue for Australia is, they’re rarely sold through our Telcos. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone disable any dual SIM function on a phone they sell – the second slot is normally then used as memory expansion.
Why? Ahh, why would Telstra want you using their network for calls, perhaps on their cheapest plan, and going and grabbing a Kogan Mobile SIM for your data? Not in their interest. Plain and simple as that.
JB HiFi and other outright retailers of phones have for a long time sold Dual SIM phones, meaning you can buy a Huawei, Oppo, even Samsung Dual SIM enabled phone, and get two SIMs to put in it.
So, today, Apple announced that all three new phones today, the XS, XS Max and XR would feature Dual SIM capabilities.
Around the world (Except China) the would do this using a single SIM slot tray for a Nano SIM, and a built in eSIM on the device. (China versions will have a SIM tray that supports two Nano SIMs)
eSIMs are not new to Apple, they have been in iPads for some time, and also last year’s Apple Watch.
However, introducing an eSIM into the primary device of users – that would open up a world of new options for users, and our Telcos won’t be rushing to do that.
Additionally, EFTM understands the eSIM on the iPhone may use a different eSIM standard to the Apple Watch – so additional work may be required to even get them working on our mobile networks.
Oh, and another problem could be that the Apple eSIM standard is different to that which Android devices are using. More work for the telcos.
So, more work, and possibly less revenue – you think the Telcos will be rushing to enable the eSIM on the new iPhones? Unlikely.
That said, Apple forced the hands of Aussie Telcos with single numbers across multiple SIMs with the Apple Watch – maybe, just maybe the Dual-SIM iPhone can do the same?
We wait in hope.
Trevor Long travelled to Cupertino as a guest of Apple Australia