One of Apple’s most noteworthy upgrades to the iPhone XR and iPhone XS was the addition of eSIM and dual physical SIM support, enabling users to easily switch between cellular carriers and multiple phone numbers. Unfortunately, major U.S. carriers weren’t ready to properly support the features when the iPhones shipped, a situation Verizon is apparently set to address next month.
According to a new 9to5Mac report, a Verizon internal memo states that the carrier will begin eSIM and physical SIM activations for dual SIM configurations in early December. Despite the iPhone’s hardware support for the feature, Verizon discovered that the iPhone’s second SIM was locked into using its older CDMA network instead of LTE, resulting in lower speeds and connectivity issues. The company said that it would work with Apple to resolve the problems.
Similarly, AT&T discovered that dual SIM users were experiencing issues with Visual Voicemail, leading it to withdraw its initial support for the feature. T-Mobile and Sprint both held off on supporting the feature at first, saying that they were working on software updates to enable support; T-Mobile most recently has said that it will “have a solution available before the end of the year.”
U.S. customers presently represent a fairly small subset of the global demand for eSIM and dual physical SIM solutions. Asian and European users rely upon two SIMs to toggle phones between business and personal lines, as well as domestic and international carriers. The omission of dual SIM support was previously considered an obstacle to iPhone adoption by customers in some countries, and discussed as a possibly China-exclusive feature addition prior to its official announcement.
It’s unknown at this point whether Verizon’s dual SIM support will be included in an iPhone carrier update, which could be Verizon-specific, or a full iOS update, which has the potential of multi-carrier support. Verizon’s early December timeframe suggests that the issue will be addressed in iOS 12.1.1, which is currently being beta tested.