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Dual-SIM iPhone could be exclusive to China, new report suggests

Rumours are circulating that Apple is about to finally join its competitors in offering a phone that supports two SIM cards at once. Before you start celebrating though, a new report has claimed that the feature will be exclusive to Apple’s customers in China.

The report in the Taiwanese Economic Daily News (via SlashGear) claims that the functionality will be coming to the cheaper of the three rumoured iPhone 9 devices (equipped with an LCD screen rather than an OLED), and that it will be dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS).

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This has a couple of implications. Firstly, it means that unlike dual-SIM dual active (DSDA), your second SIM will be inactive whenever you’re making a call on your first network. This won’t be an issue for most people, but if you regularly use your phone to make long-distance calls, it could be a problem.

However, the bigger revelation is that this seemingly confirms that the device will be able to carry two physical cards, rather than relying on a software SIM or eSIM for its second network connection.

The news follows the recent discovery of code referring to a ‘secondSIM’ in iOS 12, and a prediction from noted industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo about the functionality arriving on the iPhone X maker’s 2018 batch of handsets.

Why dual-SIM for developing markets?

Dual-SIM handsets are relatively rare in the west compared to developing markets, where they’re seen as an almost essential feature. Given Apple’s history as a US company focused on US consumers, it makes sense that it’s a little late to the party on this particular feature.

Having two network connections is very useful in developing countries because competition from different networks means that people hop between them all the time to get the best deal. Certain networks will even give discounts if you’re calling someone on the same network as you.

Related: Best iPhone

But it’s not just China where dual-SIM handsets are popular, with markets such as India and countries in the Middle East also demanding them. We’d question the logic of making this a China-exclusive feature, and wager that some western consumers would also value the flexibility it provides.

Do you think Apple should bring a dual-SIM iPhone to the west? Let us know @TrustedReviews.

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