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Android 13 continues to edge its way towards a full release for the public at large, with Google dropping in more and more new features along the way. One feature that could be about to appear will make it much easier to use two phone numbers on one device.
As per some digging into the latest Android code updates done by Esper, it looks as though Google is about to introduce Multiple Enabled Profiles (MEP) into the software, a technology that the company patented back in 2020.
Simply put, it means an eSIM can support two numbers and two carriers at the same time. Current eSIMs can store multiple profiles, but only one can be active at any one time – Android 13 may be able to remove that limitation when it launches.
One SIM good, two SIMs better
If MEP does show up in Android 13, it would make it much easier for users to run two numbers at the same time on one phone, without any need for physical SIM cards. Dual-SIM support is something a lot of people still look for – to separate their work and personal lives, for example.
It’s worth bearing in mind that in the early previews of new Android releases – the stage that Android 13 is currently in – new features often get added, tested, and then removed again. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not MEP makes the cut this year.
However, having patented the technology a couple of years ago, Google is going to be keen to get it installed in handsets as quickly as possible. With rumors of an eSIM-only iPhone continuing to circulate, and the iPhone 13 having two eSIMs on board, Android could gain an advantage here.
Analysis: so long to the SIM
SIM cards have gradually got smaller and smaller over the years, down to the current nano size. However, phone manufacturers have been reluctant to ditch physical SIM slots altogether for all kinds of reasons – not least because eSIMs aren’t fully established, and because eSIMs can’t (yet) keep two numbers active at once.
If you’ve never come across eSIMs before, they essentially do the job of a SIM card through a moduled embedded on the phone’s motherboard. They identify the handset and connect it up to the network of the carrier that you’ve signed up with.
The advantages are clear: you can connect up in seconds via a QR code, and phone makers can use the SIM card slot space for a different component or a bigger battery. In the long term, there’s no real reason for the traditional SIM cards to stick around.
If Multiple Enabled Profiles do indeed make it to Android 13, then phone makers could remove the SIM card slot while still catering to those who need to run two numbers concurrently. The operating system should launch fully later this year.
Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.