Multiple accounts on one cell phone
June 28, 2005 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to have two cell phone accounts on one phone? To make things more complicated, I'm talking specifically about combining a Nextel account and a Cingular account -- which I believe operate on seperate protocols. Is there hardware that supports this? I'd want to be able to have both accounts active at the same time, and if I were on a call using one, and received a call on the other, the other would get pushed to voicemail.
posted by jruckman to Technology (10 answers total)
I am almost positive that the ericsson phone I used when I traveled/worked in HK and China had two SIM card slots just for this purpose. Might have been a Nokia phone, however. I've never seen the dual slots on any phone in the US.
posted by qwip at 1:06 PM on June 28, 2005

I think there are some iDen/GSM phones out there, or on the way, but that's to support roaming onto a GSM network from iDen. I would call up Nextel (or Cingular) and see what they can do for you.

I'm guessing it would be more likely that one of the carriers would be able to set up two numbers (perhaps porting one number from Cingular, or porting your Nextel number to Cingular) on one phone, but not mix/match carriers. At least in the US.
posted by drobot at 1:21 PM on June 28, 2005

No, Nextel use special hardware.

Do you have a concrete reason for wanting the Cingular account too?
posted by cillit bang at 1:43 PM on June 28, 2005

Sprint has a CDMA/GSM phone which is one step better than a dual band phone. This model will take sim cards and is designed to for use internationally. However, it might accept a card from a domestic provider.

With the Sprint/Nextel merger, this might take care of your needs.

Link to phone
posted by pandaharma at 1:59 PM on June 28, 2005

I don't know about using separate carriers, but my phone, a Motorola v710, supports this feature. It has an "Active Line" setting under "Phone Info."
posted by landtuna at 2:01 PM on June 28, 2005

Ok, this can get complicated but hopefully I'll be clear enough to answer your question.
First the bad news:
1) Cingular does not offer a phone that would work on the Nextel system.
2) Nextel does offer some phones that would work on other country's GSM systems (Cingular uses GSM), but these phones do not give you a separate account, nor will they work with any US GSM operators.
So the short answer to your question is no. However, there may be other possibilities that may work for you, depending on what you are trying to do.
For example:
Some (all?) of Nextel phones had (have?) the capability to support 2 numbers (sometimes called NAMs or lines). I don't know if Nextel offers this service to all customers but it does exist. You could transfer your Cingular number over to the Nextel phone to the second line, and use the Nextel number on the primary one. This would let you use the same phone for both phone numbers. But your bill (for both numbers) would come from Nextel and be subject to their rate plans.
Note that if Cingular phones can support two numbers, you may be able to do the same thing with them, but I don't know if their phones support the feature.
posted by forforf at 2:12 PM on June 28, 2005

Is there no way to do this by call forwarding? I think it's a service that Nextel, at least, offers.
posted by redfoxtail at 2:36 PM on June 28, 2005

I ask because I have a work phone (they pay the bill) w/ Nextel (now Sprint), and a personal phone w/ Cingular -- and I'm sick and tired of carrying both around. Besides, if I'm on one, I'm not on the other. So it looks like as long as a phone is both CDMA & GSM, AND it has dual sim card slots, this could actually work. Anyway have any more info about phones like this, or accounts of it actually working?
posted by jruckman at 3:40 PM on June 28, 2005

I don't think my Nextel phone uses a SIM card -- this makes things a little more difficult.
posted by jruckman at 3:44 PM on June 28, 2005

Perhaps set the work phone to forward to your personal phone? And set your personal phone to ring/display different for personal calls vs. work calls (e.g. all calls in your personal phone's phonebook get one ring, everything else gets another)

Otherwise I don't think what you want to do is really possible.
posted by todbot at 11:57 PM on June 28, 2005

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