Maybe you travel often and you would like to answer your cell without worrying about paying crazy international charges on your original data plan.
Whatever the case, if you have found the need to have two lines but you don’t want to keep track of two phones (or you don’t want to pay for another phone), buying a phone that can carry two SIM cards might be something to consider. Here are the benefits and drawbacks to owning a dual-SIM cell.
ADVANTAGE: You can widen your network. If you’ve got two SIM cards following two different networks, you’re looking at almost no coverage gaps. If you live in an area that has poor coverage no matter the network, or you enjoy traveling to remote locations, this is great for those who hate dropped calls – and who doesn’t? This is also good in case of emergencies when you need to make a call right away.
DISADVANTAGE: Battery life could be shortened. Newer phones have mitigated much of these problems, but models could be affected by as much as a third, especially if they’re older.
Also, there are different types of dual-SIM abilities to keep in mind – the more active your second SIM card is, the more battery you will consume. A standard dual-SIM will consume the least battery, and each SIM will be completely inactive until you choose to manually switch your SIM cards. Dual standby will keep one SIM active when in use and the other will be ready to go. And dual active will keep both cards working simultaneously, so it will obviously consume the most power, especially if one card can connect to a network but the other card is stuck searching.
ADVANTAGE: Flexibility of two plans, logistics of one. It’s hard enough keeping track of both your phone and your keys – who wants to add a second phone to the equation? A phone with dual active SIMs even gives you the flexibility of receiving a call from someone on one network and simply putting them on hold if you need to simultaneously call someone from using the second card. Plus, if you currently use your personal cell for business and have to demonstrate your usage on your bill, that’s no longer an issue. Your second SIM means you get two entirely separate bills.
DISADVANTAGE: You might have to import it. Dual-SIM phones are mostly built overseas in countries like China, because that’s where they became popular. There are some available through Motorola and Lenovo, but many of those can lack the same support as their foreign counterparts. And if you don’t mind buying foreign, keep in mind you still might incur extra costs from shipping and/or import taxes.
ADVANTAGE: Less hassle when using your phone overseas. No more worrying about how many minutes you have on your international data plan. If you have a secondary slot open, just go to a store in whatever new country you’re in and purchase a local prepaid SIM card. Without a monthly rate or contract, you can use whatever amount of data, call time and texting you’ve purchased, and you should be able to simply stop by any mobile phone shop to add more once you’ve used up your local plan. Just make sure you try to purchase a SIM card from a big carrier in that country so you’ve got good coverage.