September 14, 2018,Posted by: V
Get Multiple Phone Numbers On Cell Phone Without Dual Sim Cards
Apple, sometime back, announced a future option of dual SIM access in their latest most expensive iPhones ever.
The original article was written on September 15, 2018, but there's an interesting update below written on September 15, 2019.
Dual SIM card options have been available for a very long time in many phones including versions of Samsung Android smartphones.
Apple though is not offering actual physical dual SIM cards but a possible future software update to allow adding an eSIM, which supposedly works the same like physical dual SIM cards.
This option for allowing electronic second SIM or eSIM is clearly in collaboration with the major players in the US, while it will mostly not work for other markets in Europe and Asia.
Many international travelers do like the idea of having dual SIM options in their smartphone or phones. This helps them insert a local SIM in the foreign country and not incur the super high charges on international calls.
Some businesses like their managements and employees to use dual SIM options which helps separate the work and personal phone numbers.
Many in Asia have been using the dual SIM cards for more than a decade. This is nothing new in that part of the world where many people have multiple personal and business phone numbers.
However, if end users are hoping for low cost international eSIM options, they will be mostly out of luck.
It would be a bit risky to have a physical SIM and an eSIM and hope that when you’re in Europe making that international call, the eSIM was in effect and not the primary SIM, else you will be paying more than the cost of the new iPhone for one phone call!
However, even without dual SIM cards, physical or electronic, there are very easy and simple techniques to get not just two but multiple individual direct phone numbers operable on the same smartphone.
One is the primary phone number that you have on your cell or mobile phone. An easy and best second number can be Google Voice which has a full functional app for both IOS and Android smartphones.
The Google Voice or GV as it’s popularly called, offers fully functional phone number with tons of features that will never be available on a regular mobile phone. The smartphone app allows sending and receiving calls on the GV number just like on the primary number.
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Another option is for businesses to offer their employees apps from their business lines. For example, Comcast Business offers a smartphone app that transports the business or work number to the cell phone. Some of the features include “Be Anywhere”, voice mails to emails, “Do Not Disturb” all controlled from the smartphone app.
This app too, like the GV allows full function calling and receiving using the work number. Google Voice has all the features of a cell or mobile number, plus more. Apart from making and receiving calls using GV number, other features include SMS texting, MMS, “Do Not Disturb”, desktop access, call forwarding to multiple numbers, voice mails and texts to email etc.
Just from the above one can see how easy it is to have three mobile phone numbers anytime, with just one SIM card and on the same smartphone!
Update - Get Even More With eSIM!
Whenever I used to travel international, I would usually end up with a physical local SIM card that had to be inserted in the smartphone. The bigger issue was to now carefully store the tiny primary SIM card so that it can be replaced when back to home country.
Last time when I travelled international, the cellular carrier provided an eSIM in the form of a paper printed card with a QR code and a bunch of numbers. They also asked for the IMEI as well as the serial number of the iPhone I wanted to use to activate the eSIM.
The numbers to be entered in the iPhone were for SM-DP, Activation Code and Confirmation Code if provided by the carrier. SM-DP stands for Subscription Manager - Data Preparation is the main system element in the GSMA technology for the eSIM, not that knowing this matters to most of us anyway!
If you really want to read up on how this magic works, here’s a great whitepaper: https://www.gsma.com/esim/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/esim-whitepaper.pdf
It was a common reaction not to trust that the eSIM would work or work well. All I had to do was to turn off the physical SIM or the Primary Cellular Plan and turn on the eSIM or the Secondary Cellular Plan. As simple as that, seriously. If all is good and configured properly, the eSIM immediately takes over, connects to the carrier as a regular cellular phone SIM and you should see the data displayed at the top with the carrier name, the connection bars and the cellular data speed, like 4G or LTE, etc.
While leaving the other country and returning home, all I had to do was to turn off the eSIM / Secondary Cellular Plan, turn on the main physical SIM / Primary Cellular Plan and I was in business. Upon landing in home country, the phone worked as if nothing had ever changed!
Due to a sorrowful family occasion, after a few months, I had to rush back to the other country. At least the best thing that happened was that the previous eSIM configured in my iPhone worked like a charm, just had to use their app and recharge the plan, which can be done from anywhere, even from somebody else’s phone too!
I was able to right away, use the local phone number, got high speed Internet which at the least made it easy for me to reach others and my family and friends to reach me while I was there.
The switching was extremely seamless and straightforward. With the high speed LTE cellular Internet I was able to access the Google Voice and other home VOIP phone lines from abroad.
The system does allow both the lines to be active all the time, as long as you have the international roaming plan for the “remote” line and don’t mind paying the rates. In that case, the phone receives calls made to either of the lines, which means the two main cellular lines, physical SM and eSIM, as well as the two or three VOIP lines, like Google Voice, Comcast, MagicJack etc.
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