Tired of Carrying Multiple Phones?

I have this problem of having to carry several phones about. Most likely, I am in good company on this! I carry multiple phones around for two distinct reasons:

1. To take advantage of goodies offered by different providers. For example, Etisalat Nigeria currently offers 15 MegaBytes of internet data free weekly once you load up to N200 every week. That satisfies a portion of my internet requirement. I therefore put an Etisalat SIM inside an internet capable phone. Of course, I attempt to make use of the weekly N200 call credit, despite the fact that it is uneconomical for me to call out @ 50k/sec. The result is that people get to know that number – and start to send you smses and call you on that line. Unfortunately, this particular line is not for receiving calls or sms! But what can i do?

MTN allows me put my vocal chords to active use with N250/month to a special number all month – round the clock. So, I need a phone for this.

AirTel is too good. Their 2Good promotion is just marvelous! Besides, It is my primary line -in use since year 2000. I need another phones to put this into.

You see my problem?

My second reason for lugging multiple phones about is to ensure I can reach out and be reached – at all points in time. Despite years of GSM operation, there are areas where signals are either non-existent, or weak.
Now, carrying three (sometimes – four!) phones about has a lot of problems associated with it :
– How are you going to fit four phones in your pocket successfully? Unless those phones are really tiny, that would be a problem.  For the ladies, the handbag is a saving grace .

Also, tiny phones are usually economical on features. They lack the functionalities of their bulkier siblings. Besides, there are phones you should not be caught dead with! Reminds me of a friend who had to hide behind a computer monitor to receive a call – because he was ashamed to bring it out in that particular gathering! The phone did not befit his social status! Show me your phone and I will tell you who you are!

– You need to remember to keep all the phones charged – at all times.

– You have to keep all your contacts synchronized on all phones. On feature-rich phones, this is drop-dead easy. But on budget phones without USB cables or PC sync softwares, you often have to manually feed contacts in.
Imagine wanting to get a particular contact, and have to search through multiple phones (for the correct phone) to access that contact. Not very tidy.

People talk as if the number portability (billed to take-off come April – if it does take off!) will solve the problem of carrying several devices simultaneously.

Pray, tell me, how will that solve the problem of wanting to enjoy benefits present on disparate networks. A particular network may offer the best call rates while another offer the the best data rates. To enjoy the best of all network worlds, I submit that we will probably still need to have to keep carrying multiple phones about – even when (if?) the portability thing comes on stream.

Those Chinese phones that allow up to 4 different SIMs simultaneously are probably here to stay.

How about you? How many phones are you carrying all over town?

As a last thought, it is about time NCC or telecoms providers also implement the network SIM blockage facility. That way, with your phone EMEI (Electronic Mobile Equipment Identification number) registered, phones can be protected from loss. All you need do is report if your phone is lost or stolen. And that phone can be prohibited from accessing any mobile network in Nigeria – rendering it useless to the new “illegal” owner. That way, you can carry about a N150,000 phone about at 11p.m in a ghetto with complete confidence!
It is noteworthy that the current ubiquitous SIM registration does not include the capturing of EMEIs!

This is something NCC needs to address urgently!


  • ummh, dual sim phones. My take on this is this; high end phones are not intended for the African Market, only the mid range and low end ones. In the US and maybe Europe were sales of these high end devices is high, the practice of locking phones to a particular network is very popular. I am not sure that would be possible with dual sim phones.

  • Eyebeekay, Excellent write-up. I’m sure loads of people will fall into the same shoe you aptly described.

    But I was expecting your write-up will end up with some recommendation on worthy dual sim feature rich smartphones (not china). I did some screening a while one ago and the Acer DX900 was the best I could find:

    But Windows Mobile is ancient these days and wouldn’t want to go that route.

    Any recommendations on Android or Windows Phone 7 dual sim smartphone? Or am I asking for too much and just in fantasyland???

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