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T-Mobile UK Multi-Sim – for business customers only

I called T-Mobile today to discuss Multi-Sim.


It’s actually quite complex.

Here’s the concept: You have, let’s say, three phone numbers on your T-Mobile account.

You nominate one of the phone numbers to be a master.

If you make a call from any device, the master number is used. So that I could call you from my N93, or my E61, and you’d still see ‘Ewan calling’ on your phone. Neat.

Likewise, if you call me, I *gather* (though I didn’t specifically confirm this) that all phones will ring. I didn’t confirm this because I was too busy trying to understand how things worked if I sent a text message from one of my handsets.

So. Let’s be clear:

E61 – Master
N93 – Slave
K800 – Slave
N73 – Slave


So each of these phones has to have its own price plan. That’s a total arse. They have to each have a separate number on your account.

Then you apply the ‘Multi Sim’ option which means that any calls you make — e.g. from the N73, will appear to come from your master number.

Send a text message from the N73, and that uses the N73’s own number as the originator. Arse.

THEN you need to convert your account to a business account. That’s an arse in itself.

In summary, Multi Sim is not what I wanted.

I wanted four or five sim cards, each tied to ONE account. So when I call, text, or whatever, from whatever device, you know it’s from me. And that when you REPLY I get the text message on every device. Or something.

Yeah, it’s an arse. Total arse.

Someone’s going to have to fix this properly, at some point.

So Multi Sim from T-Mobile is a cool service for a particular subset of persons. Not me, alas.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

5 replies on “T-Mobile UK Multi-Sim – for business customers only”

Both Orange and Vodafone UK offer similar services.

Orange’s is called “Single Number” and is only available to Business customers. It only works with two devices; you have a primary and a seconday device, and also you must also nominate which of these two devices rings first. If the first device is on, it will ring. If the first device is off, the second will ring. Outbound calls from either display the primary number. Texts sent from the primary device display the primary number. Texts sent from the secondary device display the “hidden” secondary number. Therefore you don’t text from the secondary device (in my case it’s the car). Texts received will also only go to the primary device, unless you disclose your “hidden” secondary number and the text is specifically sent to that (doing this defeats the point of the whole thing really). The other downside is if you leave the device that is set to ring first on somewhere, and take the device set to ring second away with you, all calls will go to the first device. There is no way to remotely switch this without turning the device set to ring first off (impossible if you’ve let it miles away). This is not a problem if the SIM set to ring first is in a slot built into the car as when you turn the engine on/off it is enabled/disabled. Orange’s service works in tandem with data and 3g. You can only have it with Orange Business Plus or Business Advance

Vodafone’s service, last time I checked, is also business only. It does not work with GPRS/data and you also have to have a special tariff (not any Vodafone tariff). However you can have more than two devices and you can also change which device is “in use” by typing a special code sequence on any handset. This gets around the problem of leaving a device set to ring first somewhere, as with Orange. The lack of data and the restricted tariffs is, of course, very annoying. I hope Vodafone can sort this out.

No idea about o2 or Three.

Do let us know when you manage to break the fundamental GSM industry 1 subscriber = 1 SIM card model 😉

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