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  • FIRST POST
    • fwor
    • By fwor 11th Oct 17, 2:24 PM
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    fwor
    Dual SIM phone limitations
    • #1
    • 11th Oct 17, 2:24 PM
    Dual SIM phone limitations 11th Oct 17 at 2:24 PM
    I've been looking at buying a dual-SIM phone for one specific reason: getting the best possible data coverage in remote parts of the UK.

    Until a short while ago I was planning to buy a Motorola G5 dual-SIM, but the feedback about the limitations in how this works makes me worry that it won't work as I want it to.

    I want to be able to use a Three 123 PAYG SIM in the first SIM slot (for phone calls and as a backup for data, tethered to a laptop) and the second SIM slot for an EE PAYG data SIM (tethered to a laptop).

    Will this work, or will the EE SIM only work at 2G speeds?

    I should add that I've already considered a Dual-SIM Moto G4 - given that it seems to be one of the few budget smartphones that supports 3G/4G properly on both SIM slots - but I don't want a phone any bigger than 5" (or 5.2" at most)!
Page 1
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 11th Oct 17, 2:39 PM
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    Inner Zone
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 17, 2:39 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 17, 2:39 PM
    I want to be able to use a Three 123 PAYG SIM in the first SIM slot (for phone calls and as a backup for data, tethered to a laptop) and the second SIM slot for an EE PAYG data SIM (tethered to a laptop).

    Will this work, or will the EE SIM only work at 2G speeds?
    Originally posted by fwor
    Depends, if you leave data switched on the 3 SIM the the EE SIM will be 2G, if you switch data (in the menu not physically) to the EE SIM, data will be 2,3 or 4G depending on network coverage but the 3 SIM will stop working altogether.

    According to Motorola Australia (where a lot of 2G has been switched off) a firmware update that will allow voice on the second 3G SIM is on its way but they don't state when.
    • fwor
    • By fwor 11th Oct 17, 4:22 PM
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    fwor
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:22 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:22 PM
    if you switch data (in the menu not physically) to the EE SIM, data will be 2,3 or 4G depending on network coverage but the 3 SIM will stop working altogether.
    Originally posted by Inner Zone
    Thanks - I could probably live with that, but obviously would prefer not to have to. Interesting about the (romoured) firmware update, though a lot of people seem to speculate that it's a limitation of the modem hardware rather than firmware. But that's just speculation.

    Can you suggest any other 5" or thereabouts budget phones that can be bought outright and which support 2 SIMs properly. I've been looking at the Samsung J5, but apparently that too has the 2G limitation on the other SIM while one SIM is active?

    [Edit: I'm also not that confident about the reliability of the Moto G5. My current G3 has been great but the reviews for the G5 look a bit mixed...]
    Last edited by fwor; 11-10-2017 at 4:24 PM.
    • JJ Egan
    • By JJ Egan 11th Oct 17, 4:27 PM
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    JJ Egan
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:27 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:27 PM
    If it was me i would be looking at a model that i can pop another sim in without any hassle .
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 11th Oct 17, 4:38 PM
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    Inner Zone
    • #5
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:38 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:38 PM
    Thanks - I could probably live with that, but obviously would prefer not to have to. Interesting about the (romoured) firmware update, though a lot of people seem to speculate that it's a limitation of the modem hardware rather than firmware. But that's just speculation.

    Can you suggest any other 5" or thereabouts budget phones that can be bought outright and which support 2 SIMs properly. I've been looking at the Samsung J5, but apparently that too has the 2G limitation on the other SIM while one SIM is active?

    [Edit: I'm also not that confident about the reliability of the Moto G5. My current G3 has been great but the reviews for the G5 look a bit mixed...]
    Originally posted by fwor
    I can't recommend another, I have two G5's (from a single G3 and several 2/3G other phones) and four SIM cards (three PAYG) to cover the four networks as I spend lot of time in remote areas.

    I also have two My-Fi's, one 4G and one 3G and two data SIM's, so have them for data and the phones for mainly voice, but data also if the two data SIM networks are not available.

    Just hope the Aussie's are correct and it happens soon. But note it is supposed to be voice / data on one SIM as present and 3G voice only on the other no data.
    Last edited by Inner Zone; 11-10-2017 at 4:41 PM.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 11th Oct 17, 4:41 PM
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    • 611 Thanks
    Carrot007
    • #6
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:41 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:41 PM
    If it was me i would be looking at a model that i can pop another sim in without any hassle .
    Originally posted by JJ Egan
    I don't think there are any.

    The issues is there is 1 modem of each type. 2G / 3G / 4G.

    With dual sim mode the main sim gets 3G/4G and the backup gets 2G.

    In theory they could update the firmware so when the Main has 4G the backup could use 3G. They will have to soon as 2G is going to be repurposed in time.

    But whatever each sim only gets to use it's assigned type of modem.

    I guess they could put in 2 of each modem, but who knows what that would be like. They would surely interfere with each other too much to work.

    Personally I just have a my backup in a seperate cheap but usable phone.
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 11th Oct 17, 4:44 PM
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    Inner Zone
    • #7
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:44 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:44 PM
    There are some Chinese phones which apparently will support two 3/4G SIMs for both voice and data at the same time, but I am wary of purchasing them due to warranty issues.
    • fwor
    • By fwor 11th Oct 17, 4:47 PM
    • 5,889 Posts
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    fwor
    • #8
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:47 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Oct 17, 4:47 PM
    I can't recommend another, I have two G5's (from a single G3 and several 2/3G other phones) and four SIM cards (three PAYG) to cover the four networks as I spend lot of time in remote areas.

    I also have two My-Fi's, one 4G and one 3G and two data SIM's, so have them for data and the phones for mainly voice, but data also if the two data SIM networks are not available.

    Just hope the Aussie's are correct and it happens soon. But note it is supposed to be voice / data on one SIM as present and 3G voice only on the other no data.
    Originally posted by Inner Zone
    I'm currently using the G3 for voice and backup data, and a 3G Mi-Fi (Huawei) on EE for main data use - so unless I can find a Dual SIM that works properly, I might as well stick with what I have, given that 3G speeds are fine for me!

    Finding something in this price range (£150-160) is not so easy - especially now that Lenovo seem to be taking the Moto G product upmarket (i.e. into the £230+ area with the G5S models).

    Agreed about the native Chinese phones - some have very good specs for the money, but I don't want to go there with grey market products either.
    Last edited by fwor; 11-10-2017 at 4:49 PM.
    • Inner Zone
    • By Inner Zone 11th Oct 17, 5:01 PM
    • 1,947 Posts
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    Inner Zone
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 17, 5:01 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 17, 5:01 PM
    I was carrying upto four phones in remote areas before, now only two, and only one in urban areas. Mi-Fi's in the car, hotel etc. Works for me as I need the phone mainly for voice.
    Last edited by Inner Zone; 11-10-2017 at 5:07 PM.
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 11th Oct 17, 6:27 PM
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    Neil Jones
    Pretty much every dual-sim phone I've ever looked at will only use the second sim as a 2G network. That's no good for Three, who don't have a 2G network so that sim will only work in the first SIM slot as 3G or 4G. Please also be aware Three PAYG doesn't allow tethering.
    • eDicky
    • By eDicky 11th Oct 17, 9:54 PM
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    eDicky
    Can you suggest any other 5" or thereabouts budget phones that can be bought outright and which support 2 SIMs properly. I've been looking at the Samsung J5, but apparently that too has the 2G limitation on the other SIM while one SIM is active?]
    Originally posted by fwor
    Nearly all dual-SIM phones sold by UK suppliers have this limitation, a notable exception being the Moto G4. it's been suggested that the reason may be production economy.

    However in East Asia, where handsets are usually dual-SIM when not supplied by a network, this limitation is uncommon on new phones. In Singapore, where 2G networks were switched off almost a year ago, you can be sure that any phone on sale now has 3G capability on the second SIM (the one not being used for data).

    This may not be very helpful of course, unless you or someone you know will visit Singapore or transit through the airport, or Thailand (and probably other countries) where phones with such limitation are also no longer sold.
    • d123
    • By d123 11th Oct 17, 10:05 PM
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    d123
    I had this discussion on another forum and it was said that a number of Huawei and Honor models allow 3G on the 2nd sim, I’ll try and get a definitive list.

    As others have said the Moto G4 was one of the first that allowed it.
    ====
    • fwor
    • By fwor 11th Oct 17, 11:06 PM
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    fwor
    Please also be aware Three PAYG doesn't allow tethering.
    Originally posted by Neil Jones
    That's a good point, but... do they actually enforce the rule?

    I admit I do occasionally tether when I'm on Three PAYG, but that's just because I prefer using the larger screen on a laptop - if I didn't tether I would generate just as much traffic from the handset anyway!

    I had always assumed - possibly wrongly - that Three would only object if you were using your phone as a hotspot serving several devices at once?
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 11th Oct 17, 11:20 PM
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    DCFC79
    That's a good point, but... do they actually enforce the rule?

    I admit I do occasionally tether when I'm on Three PAYG, but that's just because I prefer using the larger screen on a laptop - if I didn't tether I would generate just as much traffic from the handset anyway!

    I had always assumed - possibly wrongly - that Three would only object if you were using your phone as a hotspot serving several devices at once?
    Originally posted by fwor
    Why not buy a Mifi to tether or is it because you dont to carry another device and want to use the phone to tether ?
    Can people stop loaning money/being a guarator to family/friends, it rarely ends well and you lose out as your money is gone or you get shafted with being a guarantor.
    • fwor
    • By fwor 11th Oct 17, 11:52 PM
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    fwor
    Why not buy a Mifi to tether
    Originally posted by DCFC79
    That's my main access at the moment - a 3G MiFi, and I use the phone (tethered) as a backup.

    The aim was to get a single device to do everything so I don't have two devices to keep charged.

    But as I said earlier, if there is not simple single-device solution I may just as well stick with what I have.
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 12th Oct 17, 9:20 AM
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    Neil Jones
    A relatively recent post on Three's Facebook page suggests it did work and older archive posts on other forums suggest it was hit and miss as its reliability but I get the impression they've changed things now so if it does work it won't work for long with regards to tethering on Three PAYG.
    • fwor
    • By fwor 12th Oct 17, 11:26 AM
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    fwor
    A relatively recent post on Three's Facebook page suggests it did work and older archive posts on other forums suggest it was hit and miss as its reliability but I get the impression they've changed things now so if it does work it won't work for long with regards to tethering on Three PAYG.
    Originally posted by Neil Jones
    In practical terms, do you know what that means as an end user? I would ~guess~ it means that you can set up the phone as a hotspot, but any traffic that you try to relay via that hotspot does not get handled - presumably based on the originating IP address?

    The thing I can't understand is ~why~ they don't allow tethering - they are in business to sell bandwidth, and it's all traffic that the user pays for!

    If it were one user handing traffic for loads of other local users then perhaps I could understand it, but if it's just one tethered device, it really doesn't make a lot of sense...
    • d123
    • By d123 12th Oct 17, 12:08 PM
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    d123
    In practical terms, do you know what that means as an end user? I would ~guess~ it means that you can set up the phone as a hotspot, but any traffic that you try to relay via that hotspot does not get handled - presumably based on the originating IP address?

    The thing I can't understand is ~why~ they don't allow tethering - they are in business to sell bandwidth, and it's all traffic that the user pays for!

    If it were one user handing traffic for loads of other local users then perhaps I could understand it, but if it's just one tethered device, it really doesn't make a lot of sense...
    Originally posted by fwor
    They’ve become really tough on hotspot use on PAYG and Essential price plans, usually its detected within minutes now and they redirect to a page saying hotspot not allowed.
    ====
    • fwor
    • By fwor 12th Oct 17, 12:11 PM
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    fwor
    They’ve become really tough on hotspot use on PAYG and Essential price plans, usually its detected within minutes now and they redirect to a page saying hotspot not allowed.
    Originally posted by d123
    Ah - Ok, I've never seen that page, but I've only used mine for tethering a couple of times - 2 weeks ago - for maybe 2 hours a time. Sounds like I will see it some time soon then!
    • Neil Jones
    • By Neil Jones 12th Oct 17, 3:19 PM
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    Neil Jones
    There's nothing to stop you setting the phone as a hotspot, indeed there's nothing Three or any provider can do about that as its a feature baked into Android and I dare say iOS and Windows Phone too.

    I suppose a lot of it is down to traffic management/recognition and priorities, if you start streaming Netflix down it it'll certainly get intercepted, whereas just basic web pages on a similar level from a phone you're less likely to trigger the warnings.

    Tethering on Three is available on most of their other packages but not PAYG - considering they only charge 1p a megabyte for it on that tariff it's perhaps understandable that they don't want it to be a key feature. Other providers will charge more for the calls and texts but allow you to tether so it gets offset to a degree, whereas the Three deal is clearly a loss leader for them, at 3ppm its significantly cheaper than any chargeable call I can make from a landline!
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