Over the last couple of days I have been tweeting and discussing with my international friends about a solution that we are really missing here in the USA, in comparison with Europe or other Asian countries:
“ Two SIM cards for one mobile phone-number.”
Since I immigrated to USA from Europe,I have had to make a daily decision about which phone I would put my Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card in. The carriers in Europe allow you to have two separate SIM cards that use the same phone number.
A brief history
How did that start? Many cars in Europe had an integrated car phone system as an option before Bluetooth car kits were on the market. It was a convenience to pop a second SIM card into the vehicle and be able to make and receive phone calls on the same number as the user’s mobile phone, without changing any phone numbers. But of course, there were some constraints:
- The phone that was turned on first – and registered to the network – was able to receice and make calls;
- If you turned on your car (the 2nd SIM card) without turning off your phone - the car phone could only make calls, while the mobile phone would still receive the incoming calls.
The easiest way to keep things straight was to make sure the first phone – the mobile phone was turned off before starting the car.
Current situation (in the USA)
These days, most of us use Bluetooth enabled car kits, and it is not necessary to have a second SIM card for safe vehicle use anymore. However … many people have multiple phones. Smartphones are now quite prevalent, but sometimes you don’t want to carry your most complicated phone everywhere you go.
For instance, I like to carry a smaller phone on me during the weekends while on the road with my kids. The hassle now is to get my SIM card out of one phone and place it in the other. And we all know how frustrating it can be to do so. It would be so much easier to have a duplicate SIM card already placed in my second phone…
My good friend Remo Knops is a hobby road cyclist, who lives in the Netherlands (Western Europe). During his sports activities and cycling trips he likes to use an older more shock- and waterproof phone which he can use in emergencies. Remo has a Vodafone subscription, and he had no trouble buying a second SIM card – using the same mobile number – for an additional one time charge of about € 12,-. When Remo is going to ride his bike, he simply turns off his HTC Snap and turns on his “sports” phone.
Concluding thoughts and wrap-up
The main question here is: “If the carriers in Europe can offer two SIM cards for one mobile phone-number, then why can’t the US carriers?”
If AT&T and T-Mobile, the two main GSM carriers in the US, would add a second SIM card option onto their service plans, they would be offering a convenient service which would help them draw customers away from the US CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint).
We realize that this is not a service everyone needs, but with so many people using multiple phones, it would be such a convenience. Please let us know what you think about this topic by filling in the poll below:
Edit: This poll will now be used for the UK Carriers as well.
Would you like to see a major US carrier offer a dual SIM solution as some of the European carriers do? If so, which logo would you like to see on the grey SIM cards above – AT&T or T-Mobile? Your input is appreciated, and we hope that you will follow the MobilityMinded website and twitter accounts to find out how this topic continues. A great many thanks for your cooperation and comments!!