Using iPhone XR Dual SIM / eSIM With Two Verizon Lines

A reader, MJS, writes…

I just received my business I-phone XR (Verizon). My personal phone is an older I-phone 5c (Verizon). Dual SIM was one reason I chose the XR so I could combine both personal and business into a single phone. Now I understand that I can’t use ESIM because Verizon uses CDMA. I can’t put both NANO-SIM cards in the phone because the tray only supports a single card. Can I simple purchase a tray that supports the two cards stacked top & bottom or is the phone not configured internally to support?

Hi MJS,
I have not tried a dual SIM / eSIM setup myself as I decided not to buy a new Xs or Xr this year. According to Apple, you can only one carrier on a dual SIM / eSim iPhone will use CDMA. See Using Dual SIM with an eSIM

This alone, isn’t a deal breaker though, as Verizon uses both CDMA and LTE so you might find having coverage only on the LTE network for either your business or personal number is acceptable. Read the page, I linked above to understand more about how Dual SIM support works.

While doing some research on this, I also read that since this is your business phone, you’ll need to make sure your company will allow you to register this phone on your personal account as well. That is assuming, you work for a company, that owns the phone and is paying the bill. Also, while attempting to find more information using Google I noticed that there are a number of articles and forum posts discussing the issues of using dual SIM / eSIM with Verizon. Most of these articles are from October, November, and December 2018 as appear to me talking about bugs and limitations that may now be fixed by Apple’s iOS software updates.

All of this sounds like a pain to me, but I’d point out that I don’t think anyone makes a dual SIM phone that supports two CDMA networks. If fact, until recently most of the dual SIM phones I had seen did not support CDMA at all.

If it were me, I’d probably, talk to Verizon and transfer my personal service to the new iPhone Xr. As long as you don’t travel to areas without LTE coverage, you should be fine. If it doesn’t work out you can switch back to the iPhone 5c or pick up a newer iPhone for personal use. Even a used iPhone SE, iPhone 6s ,or later would feel like an improvement over the 5c at this point.

Finally, No, you can’t just buy a new SIM tray to use dual physical SIMs in the iPhone Xr. I’ve watched a few videos that show people physically modifying the internals to support dual SIMs, but this requires some skilled in electronics work to do, and it’s not going to solve your issues anyway.

Hope this helps, let me know how it goes.

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