Carrier Dual SIM Strategy

BruiserB

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 9, 2008
1,543
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What will be the best way to use the Dual SIM for travel?

1) Get your primary phone plan on the embedded SIM and leave the real SIM tray available for local travel sims?

2) Keep your primary number on a physical SIM and dynamically subscribe to different carriers while traveling on the embedded SIM?

I guess it kind of depends on how many carriers will offer easy to subscribe to short term plans on the embedded SIM. Option 1 would give access to all international carriers, but would require a visit to a local store to set up a plan. Option 2 could be the easiest, but may have limited (or no) local carriers and plans might be more expensive than the real SIM options. Any ideas how this will shake out?
 
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Deguello

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2008
912
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Texas
The eSIM seems like a poor choice, at least in the short term, for changing carriers a lot. I'd much prefer two physical SIMs, but having your default on the eSIM and switching physical SIMs sounds like it will be much easier and less limiting for a while.
 

Caspavio

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2018
241
110
probably #1. i maybe wrong, but i dont see the need for dual-sim when traveling. just use whatever travel sim card you want, and messaging/calling with VIOP/TIOP apps should work as per normal. the Phone app wont work, but facetime will.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,565
2,766
If your primary carrier supports eSIM, #1 seems to be the way to go, at least until international eSIM support grows.

Worldwide providers such as GigSky is intriguing, however. Their prices are not amazing (ranging in various increments from $10/day for 300MB to $50/month for 5GB), but generally better than most roaming charges and the convenience is hard to top.

In most cases, however, getting a local prepaid SIM from the airport or convenience store will net you the best value. In any cases, your dual SIM capable of iPhone (with iOS 12.1 or later) has to be unlocked.
 

archvile

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2007
463
596
I wonder if it will be possible to transfer your number to the eSim after the fact, seeing as they aren’t shipping with eSim enabled? I’d much rather have my primary number on the eSim, mostly for security as it can’t be removed (obviously).

Also, is it possible to “lock” an eSim with a password like you can do for physical SIM cards? (Requiring a Sim password if the phone is restarted)
 
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Deguello

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2008
912
482
Texas
probably #1. i maybe wrong, but i dont see the need for dual-sim when traveling. just use whatever travel sim card you want, and messaging/calling with VIOP/TIOP apps should work as per normal. the Phone app wont work, but facetime will.
In my case, there are two primary cell providers and intra-carrier calls are cheaper. It would be nice to set it up so that all calls use the right carrier. Might not be a common scenario, but it is out there.
 

Caspavio

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2018
241
110
yes i agree with you. there are definitely use cases for dual sim cards. perhaps i didnt word myself clearly. i am simply referring to the average tourists as per OP's question.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,565
2,766
I wonder if it will be possible to transfer your number to the eSim after the fact, seeing as they aren’t shipping with eSim enabled? I’d much rather have my primary number on the eSim, mostly for security as it can’t be removed (obviously).

Also, is it possible to “lock” an eSim with a password like you can do for physical SIM cards? (Requiring a Sim password if the phone is restarted)
With all the SIM social hacking that's going on, where thieves can get a replacement SIM with only few pieces of information, this would be a great thing for Apple and carrier partners to address.

If the customer is using an eSIM, it should be impossible to obtain a new SIM card if the eSIM is active and the phone is not reported stolen/missing.

Regarding PIN, PIN on the eSIM seems rather redundant? FaceID and complex passcode should be good enough.
 
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archvile

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2007
463
596
With all the SIM social hacking that's going on, where thieves can get a replacement SIM with only few pieces of information, this would be a great thing for Apple and carrier partners to address.

If the customer is using an eSIM, it should be impossible to obtain a new SIM card if the eSIM is active and the phone is not reported stolen/missing.

Regarding PIN, PIN on the eSIM seems rather redundant? FaceID and complex passcode should be good enough.
Perhaps, in fact it could be a detriment if a thief reboots the phone, it effectively prevents Find my iPhone from working without the Sim unlocked. But it also prevents Messages and such from being received on the phone. I don’t know, you may be right, it would be redundant.
 

BugeyeSTI

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,493
2,430
Arizona
What happens if you use the esim as the primary and down the road you decide to sell the phone? I always remove the SIM card when I sell my phone. Is there a way to erase all info stored on it before you sell it?
 
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archvile

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2007
463
596
What happens if you use the esim as the primary and down the road you decide to sell the phone? I always remove the SIM card when I sell my phone. Is there a way to erase all info stored on it before you sell it?
I would assume a factory reset, since one of the steps involved in the initial setup is the cellular activation. I would assume once your number is ported/moved to a different phone, it will no longer recognize the IMEI of the eSim and thus not work on that line anymore.
 
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Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
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I'm often out of the country for a month or more at a time. I will pick up a local sim card for data only. Places like Japan don't allow tourists without a local address to get a phone number. So while the data sim will let me iMessage and FaceTime from one of my email addresses, I loose the ability to use and receive txts/calls via my phone number at home.

I imagine this dual sim solution will allow me to use the data plan but not give up my phone number even if i'm only using iMessages and thats a HUGE deal for me!
 
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ZebraDude

macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2014
1,152
537
Naperville, IL
What will be the best way to use the Dual SIM for travel?

1) Get your primary phone plan on the embedded SIM and leave the real SIM tray available for local travel sims?

2) Keep your primary number on a physical SIM and dynamically subscribe to different carriers while traveling on the embedded SIM?

I guess it kind of depends on how many carriers will offer easy to subscribe to short term plans on the embedded SIM. Option 1 would give access to all international carriers, but would require a visit to a local store to set up a plan. Option 2 could be the easiest, but may have limited (or no) local carriers and plans might be more expensive than the real SIM options. Any ideas how this will shake out?
I'm not one to throw water on a fire BUT the iPhone will need to be carrier unlocked for the slot's to be available. Per Apple any carrier locked iPhone will have BOTH slot's locked to that carrier.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209044
 

tripleburst

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2018
221
216
It's a good thing Apple offered a carrier unlocked version of the iPhone Xs / Max day one.
Can you please clarify this a bit? Does this mean all the Xs/Max phones sold by Apple ,whether w/sim or sim-free, are unlocked?
 

Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
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Can you please clarify this a bit? Does this mean all the Xs/Max phones sold by Apple ,whether w/sim or sim-free, are unlocked?
Uh, Last year Apple did not sell a sim free version (of the X) until many months after launch day. Verizon recently started carrier locking their phones again. Even those paid in full. When you check out you have 5 options... ATT, Sprint, T-Mo And Verizon plus a Sim free option from Apple. If you wanted a unlocked phone, that's the option you needed to pick.

I didn't research if there were differences in the radios this year. In previous years if you wanted GSM & CDMA you had to get one from Sprint, Verizon or a sim unlocked device from Apple. Luckily last year Verizon wasn't locking the sim on fully paid phones but i heard they recently changed their policy.
 

ZebraDude

macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2014
1,152
537
Naperville, IL
It's a good thing Apple offered a carrier unlocked version of the iPhone Xs / Max day one.
Yes that is a good thing BUT some carriers will lock the device when you activate the iPhone with their SIM. You then need to follow their unlocking policy. I think this blows but...
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
12,904
3,476
Boston, MA
If you know you're sticking with your main carrier I'd figure getting the esim to that carrier makes the most sense.

Many carriers overseas apparently aren't yet activating esims yet anyway. So you're limiting yourself there potentially depending on where you travel.
 

Vermifuge

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2009
1,992
1,492
I know that Sprint does this...they will make you wait 50 days....blows...

https://www.sprint.com/en/legal/unlocking-your-sprint-device.html
Maybe I missed it in all the legalese but I don't see anywhere in the link you provided that Sprint will LOCK a sim free (UNLOCKED) device purchased directly from Apple when activated on the Sprint network. Not that I don't believe you. but i would like to see the wording and or justification for this practice.
 

ZebraDude

macrumors 65816
Sep 7, 2014
1,152
537
Naperville, IL
Maybe I missed it in all the legalese but I don't see anywhere in the link you provided that Sprint will LOCK a sim free (UNLOCKED) device purchased directly from Apple when activated on the Sprint network. Not that I don't believe you. but i would like to see the wording and or justification for this practice.
As I would. I have only heard that people have had it happen. Now hopefully these procedures will be changed with the advent of the first iPhone with dual SIMs.

Hopefully others will chime in and clarify.
 

tripleburst

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2018
221
216
Uh, Last year Apple did not sell a sim free version (of the X) until many months after launch day. Verizon recently started carrier locking their phones again. Even those paid in full. When you check out you have 5 options... ATT, Sprint, T-Mo And Verizon plus a Sim free option from Apple. If you wanted a unlocked phone, that's the option you needed to pick.

I didn't research if there were differences in the radios this year. In previous years if you wanted GSM & CDMA you had to get one from Sprint, Verizon or a sim unlocked device from Apple. Luckily last year Verizon wasn't locking the sim on fully paid phones but i heard they recently changed their policy.
I tried "ordering" an xs and used apple monthly payments (not IUP) and chose at&t. see the highlighted in the pic. I was wondering if this applies to purchases in IUP as well.
 

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SeattleMoose

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2009
1,897
1,613
Der Wald
2 physical SIM trays would have allowed much more flexibility and I was disappointed to find out that "2 SIM cards" are actually a built-in "eSIM" (no tray) and a single traditional SIM card tray. What happens if I live in the USA (and have another dedicated phone) and use this new phone ONLY for travel? Can I have the eSIM setup for Germany while the real SIM is setup for another country? Also, need to find out more about which companies will lock your eSIM and/or the real SIM, and for how long. This should be resolved in the next few weeks....
 
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