The notion of a Dual-SIM phone has largely been attributed to Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo, OnePlus and even Xiaomi. Brands such as Samsung too, have a variant of their flagships such as the Galaxy S9 with dual SIM support just so they can make it available for Chinese markets. Now, according to an article seen on The Verge, Apple seems to be following suit.
Why are dual-SIM phones so popular?
In Asia, you’ll find a variety of reasons. In China, for example, moving from Beijing to Shanghai would mean that you have to change your SIM card. If not you’d have to pay roaming charges.
In India, the prospect of dual-SIM phones is popular for two reasons. They are competitive pricing and reliability of telecom operators. While some networks offer cheaper call rates, they also have poor connectivity. Similarly, other operators might charge more for better connectivity. As such, people would resort to a combination of two SIMs when required. And then there’s Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, for example, the use of dual-SIM phones is popular because of the ease of use. You can assign one SIM card for phone calls and messaging, and the other one for mobile data. In case you find yourself traveling a lot, you can even have SIM cards from two different network providers and switch connections depending on the network coverage.
Another reason why dual-SIM smartphones are popular in Sri Lanka is due to the packages that the network operator provides. This can range from free talk time to other numbers within the same network, to free data bundles and even “couple” SIMs. Further, corporate offices also tend to give SIM cards for office use. Rather than carrying around two phones, the easier solution would be to put both the normal and office SIM card into the same device.
I myself use two SIM cards as I find myself relying a lot on mobile data. So I use one for that with a dedicated mobile data package and the other SIM is used for general purposes such as calling and texting.
Why would Apple make a dual-SIM iPhone?
The prospect of a dual-SIM iPhone is an interesting one. For example, if you’re looking to buy the latest iPhone, you’d be limited to only one SIM card. While not a huge loss for some, it might be a deal breaker for those accustomed to using a phone with dual-SIMs.
If you didn’t already know, Apple is struggling with iPhone sales in India. Why? Because the phone is priced at the top tier of the market. As such, people would much rather just go for a cheaper device with more or less the same functionality. Despite marketing promotions and incentives to retailers to increase sales, the high price of the iPhones acts as a deterrent and people don’t by them.
That being said, some argue that Apple shouldn’t focus on providing budget products for emerging markets. One such critic is Om Malik – a partner at True Ventures who stated that Apple should place their products as luxury items.
In the interview, the Om Malik went on to explain that it’s difficult for Apple to remain in a market such as India simply because of brands such as Samsung and Xiaomi offering more affordable alternatives. China for example, despite being price conscious, does well in iPhone sales. This is because China has people who can afford to buy an iPhone.
On the other hand, even if Apple is planning on a dual-SIM Phone, it is quite possible that the ship has already set sail and that it is too late for Apple to launch a dual-SIM phone. While the pricing of the new iPhones is not yet confirmed, it is possible that Apple might just release the lowest end of the iPhone lineup with dual-SIM support. This, in turn, would make it an attractive buy for those looking for an iPhone with dual-SIM support.
There’s nothing set in stone, yet
Whether or not Apple actually goes ahead with launching a dual-SIM iPhone remains to be seen. It’s highly unlikely that they would launch it in the US. Simply because people are not used to it. The more logical option that Apple could take would be to launch a variant of the low-end iPhone in India and other Asian countries. Like all things Apple, we won’t really know until they announce it on stage. Till then, it’s a waiting game.