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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 February 2019

Two Sims better than one for UAE phone subscribers

Here we examine the trends spurring this renaissance and take a look at some of the new dual-Sim handsets hitting the market.
Makers such as Samsung and HTC are providing more dual-Sim models, including updated versions of their popular flagship devices. Silvia Razgova / The National
Makers such as Samsung and HTC are providing more dual-Sim models, including updated versions of their popular flagship devices. Silvia Razgova / The National

When purchasing a new phone, what features do you typically consider? Price, brand, camera, memory, operating system? Now there is another question you need to ask yourself – to dual or not to dual?

The ability to run two Sim cards simultaneously on one handset is nothing new. Indeed, a company called Benefon released the world’s first dual-Sim phone, the Benefon Twin, way back in 2000, but the technology is now beginning to gain notable traction in the region. Here we examine the trends spurring this renaissance and take a look at some of the new dual-Sim handsets hitting the market.

When weighing up the inherent benefits of carrying a dual-Sim phone, it’s easy to understand why these devices are generating such interest in the GCC region. Carrying two devices is certainly not uncommon here. Take the lift in almost any building and you’ll soon see a variety of combinations on show – Android and iPhone, Android and Black- Berry, iPhone and BlackBerry, Android and feature phone, and so on. However, this approach does not suit everyone, and there is a growing segment of the population that simply wants to carry one phone.

The people carrying two phones are often doing so to maximise the capabilities offered by two network providers. Telecoms operators are constantly battling each other for share, leading to some very attractive promotions. They are increasingly attempting to lure customers with ever more attractive data plans, while the offer of cheap international calls is also popular with the high percentage of expatriates in the region.

In light of such promotions, it is only natural that consumers are looking to tap into the services of more than one operator.

In such cases, the attraction of consolidating the benefits of two handsets into one is obvious. Another relevant factor here in the GCC is that we have all been in situations where we struggle to get a signal, only to find that another operator’s network is perfectly accessible.

Given the frequency of such occurrences, it makes perfect sense to have two Sim cards running on separate networks, and it makes even more sense to have those two Sims running on one handset.

So what options are out there for those interested in going down the dual-Sim route? Well, not too long ago, dual-Sim devices made up just a tiny fraction of the handset market, and those that were available were primarily grouped towards the lower end of the market, offering little in the way of additional features. However, there is change in the air, with makers such as Samsung and HTC providing more dual-Sim models, including updated versions of their popular flagship devices.

The Galaxy S5 Duos, for example, is Samsung’s dual-Sim version of its Galaxy S5 smartphone. The new device comes equipped with the same top-end specs, including a 5.1” Super Amoled display and a 16- megapixel rear-facing camera. The device is also IP67 certified – meaning it is dust and water- resistant.

The same story applies in the HTC stable, which now houses the One (M8) Dual Sim. In essence, HTC has reproduced the same flagship device, just with an additional Sim slot. Like the original, it is aluminium built and features a 5-inch display, built-in IR blaster, 4-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 5-megapixel shooter up front.

The rise of flagship devices with the dual-Sim feature clearly shows that demand exists in the market for such an add-on. And these latest releases open up interesting potential for dual-Sim devices in the business segment. That is because not everyone actively chooses to carry two separate phones; some are required to do so by their employers. Go into any office building in the region and you’ll see executives with a work-issued phone in one hand and a flagship personal device in the other.

The old dual-Sim phones didn’t have the capabilities to replace one of these devices, let alone both of them, but this new breed of high-end dual-Sim smartphone changes all that, particularly in the growing era of “bring your own device”.

The attraction of being able to field work and personal calls on a single high-end handset of your choice is obvious, and the emergence of dual-Sim flagships also has the potential to solve a perennial problem encountered by many regular business travellers. Faced with hefty data and voice roaming charges, many companies now insist on employees using a local Sim card for the country they are travelling to. This means either forking out for a cheap feature phone to house the foreign Sim or running the risk of becoming disconnected from family and colleagues back home. As such, the latest dual-Sim releases offer an appealing alternative for the seasoned business traveller.

What began as an almost gimmicky add-on to the feature phone space at the turn of the century has now worked its way to the top of the smartphone segment. Whether the ultimate aim is to optimise different network promotions for the cost-conscious consumer or accommodate the practicalities of the business traveller, the market has shown that considerable demand exists for dual-Sim capabilities. We can expect the range of offerings to increase as more manufacturers jump on board and push the idea that two Sims are better than one.

business@thenational.ae

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Updated: November 12, 2014 04:00 AM

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