At yesterday’s Keynote, Apple unveiled a trio of new iPhones with many enhancements and added features over previous models. But one thing in particular caught my eye.
The new iPhone XR, XS, and SX Max devices will feature dual SIM card technology, allowing for two phone lines. The days of switching SIM cards when landing in a new country may be over. So-called digital SIM cards could quickly create local numbers in a country and allow for cheaper access to cellular and data coverage.
This excites me greatly as I weigh a change in cell phone providers. I have been a loyal T-Mobile customer going back to to the very beginning. But lately T-Mobile has just been annoying me. Dropped calls in Los Angeles are picking up in frequency and the data just isn’t working abroad. I was in Germany and Holland earlier this week and could not even load email. Edge speeds are annoying, but workable for email. On this last trip, I got nothing and the agents could not activate the $5/day international roaming plan, blaming technical errors. I also got hit with a $55 bill for a 12-minute call in Italy.
So I’m looking at a switch to Verizon and its $10/day international plan. That adds up, though, for a multi-week trip. The idea of a virtual, local SIM card holds great appeal. Dual SIM cards are already ubiquitous in places like India, so it is not like this is brand-new technology.
Imagine if Apple controls this process. Imagine if these new international data plans becomes like an additional network managed through iCloud. You can bet we’ll pay a premium for any Apple-related product, but I’m willing to pay a big premium for reliable data and cellular coverage wherever I am in the world without giving up my iPhone. Project Fi is attractive, but this could be even better.
The people at Apple at geniuses. Incremental upgrades translate to irrationally loyal users, like me, who upgrade their phones every year. This time, though, I am going with Apple’s leasing program. Just like cars, I prefer to lease rather than own depreciating assets. Anyone want to buy my “old” iPhone X? Who else is looking forward to the new SIM card technology?