AT&T also balks at dual SIM iPhone support as Apple's eSIM hits passive US carrier resistance

Promises, promises. While not explicitly denying support for Apple's newly-minted eSIM and dual-SIM iPhone XR, XS and XS Max functionality, the likes of Verizon and T-Mobile have only issued vague statements that it is coming at a later date.

That's despite Apple rolling out the iOS 12.1 software update that unleashed the dual-SIM features of its new iPhones. Verizon mumbled something in the vein of having to work with Apple to make speed and coverage consistent on the second SIM as well, while T-Mobile just said they'll try and offer support by the end of the year. Given that Apple was available for testing all this time, and the functionality was announced way back in September, there was plenty of time to iron out any kinks with Apple if the carriers really wanted it.

Apple's iPhones, however, constitute almost half of all handsets that are in use by Americans, and offering dual SIM functionality is a potential ticking time bomb for carriers. Having multiple plans lined up on the eSIM card that you can change at whim, and the ability to pair them with another plan from a different carrier on the physical SIM card could turn into a revenue nightmare.

Despite that Apple doesn't offer full dual-SIM/dual-standby option, you could potentially mix the cheapest Verizon or AT&T prepaid option for the coverage, and use the affordable Sprint or a virtual carrier on the other line for unlimited data in the city where they usually blanket well. Apple, however, doesn't even list Sprint as supporting the dual SIM iPhones just yet, and now the AT&T domino has fallen as well.

Asked if the second-largest US carrier can activate service on Apple's eSIM card, a store manager disclosed that AT&T shops have been given guidelines by the mothership not to sell eSIM card options, as the carrier doesn't support Apple's new dual-SIM functionality. 

Mum's the word on if and when such support will be coming, but for now we are back at where we started with dual-SIM iPhones - the option is technically possible, but practically non-existent.



1. emvxl

Posts: 142; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

It's not in the business interest of carriers to support this - they want you (and of course, your money) tied to them. Unless Apple can find a way to bypass the carriers.

2. iAndroid18

Posts: 38; Member since: Oct 23, 2018

Well said

3. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

It's nice to see Verizon squirming and coming up with nonsensical reasons not to implement the inevitable. Whichever carrier is the first to integrate it will steal customers from their rivals.

4. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

It might be good for carriers to support this. This is an option many people want because they don't want to carry two phones as employers move to bring-own-device practices. The bill is going to be the same for the services used. Carriers are slow to accept that lots of people have moved from carrier-supported phone purchases so the loyalty really boils down to the services and coverage they provide.

5. D34ever

Posts: 236; Member since: Jul 14, 2018

AT&T should be worrying about its share price, not dual SIM phones!!!

6. atlvideoguy

Posts: 74; Member since: Feb 24, 2012

The carriers should also see this as an opportunity to grow and gain more accounts. I currently have a line on my parents Verizon unlimited plan but theres some spots that Verizon is over congested and I have been thinking about adding a AT&T line of service on the eSim. My iPhone XS Max is carrier unlocked and I use the mobile hotspot for work to download stuff i need at venues that have slow or no internet.

7. monkeyb

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

Wouldnt a Basic plan say with Verizon + Tmob unlimited plan >> Unlimited plan with Verizon? The Dual Sim makes a lot of sense in Countries like India where incoming is free and you dont need to recharge. What I mean to say is everyone can offord Dual sim in some countries but only few people willing to spend the extra cash and effort might take it in the US.

8. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

The carriers aren't gonna lose anything. For one. One sim has to be activated on the carteir tou bought the phone from. But since all. Arriers force you to have a data plan, it's kinda stupid to pick 2 US carriers because you will end up with a data plan with both. 2 soms will certainly cost you more money in the US. Outside the US, the benefit of dual sims is different. Some carriers outside the US dont include data in their normal call plans. Some carriers allow you to. Uy data plans only. So outside the US, ha ing a sim to make calls at a low rate and having another for data at a low rate is a benefit. Here in the US, most carriers lowest plan is 2GB at $15 per GB. Even if you chose a limited plan kn VZW at $30 and chose an unlimited on the second sim, its gonna cost you extra. The carriers aren't gonna lose money, the issue is making the needed changes to their system to support it.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.