Any US Dual SIM GSM providers? Sorry, no snappy title this time
September 26, 2007 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Do any US cellphone providers offer multiple SIMs for a single phone line?

So, a bit more research before I move out to the US next year (see previous AskMes).

Do any of the US cellphone providers offer dual SIM/single line arrangements? In the UK, some of the networks offer the ability to have multiple SIM cards on a single phone line - ideally for people with systems like built-in car satnav/Comms system (think OnStar) who want to retain a standard handset for out-of-car use.

I'm thinking of picking up a smartphone when I arrive for use as an "always-connected" PDA (the HTC Advantage or Tytn II look rather nice), while keeping hold of my UK-sourced quad-band Motorola V3im (Razr) for use an ordinary phone, both with US SIM cards. Ideally I'd like to get a SIM card for each on the same account with a given provider, although that's further complicated by the requirement for a standard 2G GSM SIM for the V3 while the HTC phones (presumably) use 3G/HSDPA. I could get 2 lines and simply not give out the number for the Smartphone, but I dislike the idea of having to pay extra for something (second phone line) that I'd never use.

According to the HTC website, none of the US carriers currently offer the Advantage, although some offer the Tytn, so it may have to be a case of simply getting SIM cards for two handsets that I'd buy/provide.

Any thoughts? I'd like the multi-function capability of a smartphone/PDA, but I'd prefer to just carry a (small) cellphone when I'm out for the evening or generally away from work.
posted by Nice Guy Mike to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by SpecialK at 3:22 PM on September 26, 2007

Don't think this can be done in the US. You could, in theory, clone the SIM, but that would likely ring alarm bells within the network and they would probably shut your account down in case it was being used fradulently. However, you could probably just swap the SIM from one device to the other if you are with a GSM network; if you buy the Advantage unlocked, one SIM should work in both devices.
posted by baggers at 3:49 PM on September 26, 2007

Note also that most US phone companies don't have GSM networks so they don't even have SIM cards.
posted by winston at 6:04 PM on September 26, 2007

I was always told the FCC required fraud prevention mechanisms to prevent multiple phone numbers being utilized on a single phone. Honestly I think it's probably due to pressure from the phone manufacturers to force people to have multiple phones.
posted by Octoparrot at 7:05 PM on September 26, 2007

You might find the recently-evilGoogle-purchased GrandCentral(.com) useful. Basically, it's one number that you give out that rings all your phones. Not perfect (mainly wrt caller ID and texting), but handy nonetheless.
posted by trevyn at 9:50 PM on September 26, 2007

Response by poster: OK, thanks for your answers - looks like I'll not be able to do it the way I was thinking.

Next best bet is probably two lines on an account from a provider. So, a network with good customer service, reasonable prices (particularly on data), who support both GSM and HSDPA phones on a single account, and have good coverage in D/FW (TX) and MD...

Why do I get the feeling that I'm more likely to find the lost city of Atlantis in my bathtub that all that? :-)
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:08 AM on September 27, 2007

Note also that most US phone companies don't have GSM networks so they don't even have SIM cards.

It depends on how you define "most." It's actually neck and neck, with AT&T and TMobile operate mostly GSM networks (using SIM cards) in the US, accounting for a bit over 46% of the market. Sprint and Verizon are mostly CDMA networks, and account for 44% of the market. The remaining 10% or so is mixed, tilting to CDMA.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:34 AM on September 27, 2007

To follow up on trevyn, Grand Central will ring multiple lines. So will Vonage, in fact.

HOWEVER, what I just discovered with Vonage was that if one of the cell phones was turned off or dialing then the call would go directly to voice mail, therefor not ringing the other phones. Not only did this defeat the purpose of multiple ringing devices but it meant that one cell's voicemail got used not the Vonage one.

Grand Central, so long as you have call screening turned on, would presumably not have this problem. I THINK multiple lines can screen at the same time. If they can't it would be subject to the same issue.
posted by phearlez at 12:19 PM on September 27, 2007

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