The Pixel 3A gets proper dual-SIM support, thanks to Android 10

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Android 10 quietly included a big update for the Pixel 3A: true dual-SIM support, making it the first Pixel phone to enable the use of two networks simultaneously. The Pixel 2, 3, and 3A all have a single SIM slot and support for a digital eSIM, but you’ve had to switch between them if you wanted to use both. Now, the Pixel 3A and 3A XL — and the 3A line only, it seems — can use both networks at once.

From the Android settings app, Pixel 3A users will be able to select default networks for sending texts, making calls, and using data. Both SIMs will remain active at once, so you can receive a call on a secondary SIM, even while using the other SIM as the primary data connection.

Unfortunately, dual-SIM support is still really limited on the Pixel 3A because eSIM support is still really limited in general. Most carriers don’t support it, so you have a small number of options to go with. In the US, that means using Google Fi. (Support from Sprint is supposed to be coming.) Options abroad are limited, too.

While dual-SIM support isn’t generally needed in the US, it can be a key feature in other regions. A secondary SIM can help in areas with spotty service or for people who are frequently traveling between countries. It’s useful for business customers, too, as it can allow them to maintain a business line and a personal line on the same phone.

Apple finally brought dual-SIM support to the iPhone last year, also through eSIM (except in China, where a special dual physical SIM version of the iPhone was made). The situation is similarly limited, with dual-SIM support not doing much simply because most carriers still aren’t supporting it.

Comments

Because the Pixel 3a/XL come with two IMEI numbers, one for each sime while the other pixels come only with one IMEI number.

You’re saying that networks can only have a 1:1 IMEI to phone number (SIM or SIM?), even if the IMEI is used on different networks?

No but that is what is mandated by the GSM association. If you have two active sim cards then each has to have its own IMEI number.

In accordance with GSMA TS.06, each simultaneously active SIM in a
device SHALL have a unique associated IMEI.

https://www.gsma.com/newsroom/wp-content/uploads//TS.37-v4.0.pdf (Page 47)

Google needs to start making phones with true (physical) dual SIM support. Even Apple has got on that game now.

Can’t expect to make any reasonable headway in many international markets without that.

Google can’t sell their phones in China and Apple only has physical dual SIM support there so makes no sense for Google to do that especially when eSIM is the future.

Other Android OEMs sell a lot if Dual SIM variants across Asia (other countries aside from China), the Middle East and Africa. They’ve also proven reasonably popular in several European countries.

Yes, eSIM May be the future, but that’s a way off. There’s a reason Apple went with dual physical slots vs waiting for a nebulous future.

Google needs to sell phones there first… lol

Also you forget, Google owns Fi, which supports esims, so it makes sense to include esim in Pixel phones.

The only reason why Apple has this is because they could, since iPhones will have both a physical SIM slot and an eSIM at least for the next 5 years. So rather than have either useless, they decided to give us dual-SIM.
If they really wanted to give us dual-SIM and wasn’t incidental to adding eSIM, then there would be support for two eSIMs at once instead of physical SIM and eSIM…

The OnePlus phones since the 2 or 3 are dual SIM. The only versions that aren’t are the ones that T-Mobile sells; T-Mobile disables the second SIM slot in firmware and ships the phones with a single-SIM tray. That can be fixed by flashing the international firmware and buying an OEM dual SIM tray off eBay. The Zenfone 6 is also dual SIM, and has a third slot for a microSD card slot. It’s super handy for traveling or having a multipurpose phone.

I’m in the US and would love if it Samsung and other OEMs made dual [physical] SIM phones a thing here instead of me having to rely on specific OEMs.

I was a few days away from buying a 3A pixel but when I knew I didn’t have dual sim I discarded it as well as its price. It doesn’t really compete with a Xiaomi A3 in performance and price. Google must have a phone that can be purchased outside the US as the other brands do

I wonder if, like the iPhone, you can park more than one number on the eSIM. I carry several numbers on my iPhone XS but only one eSIM number can be active (open to ringing and other use) at a time. The real SIM card on the iPhone XS is a second active line all the time.

Here is what Google Fi told me when asked:
"I’d like to inform you that, with Google Fi we do not have the dual SIM feature supported by our devices. Even though the Pixel 3a device is updated to Android 10, the device won’t support the dual SIM feature."

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