The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:05 PM
DrCube DrCube is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Why can't I have two cell phones with the same number?

So I bought my wife a rotary cell phone for Christmas, but it's kind of a pain to remove her SIM card and put it in the rotary every time she wants to use it. It would be nice if she could have both phones ring when someone calls, so she can use whichever she's in the mood for. Now, having multiple phone lines is no big deal with POTS service. But doing some googling, it seems the SIM cloning is extremely frowned upon, if not outright illegal. They make it very hard to do.

So my question is part GQ, part GD:

First, what are the details here? I'm extremely ignorant, so maybe I'm just confused. Is there really no way to get a second phone attached to a cellular number? Is it illegal, or just hard to do?

Second, why? Okay, so Wikipedia said it makes it hard for law enforcement to track calls and whatnot. It also is used to "unlock" phones. Is that really worth making something that seems so simple and useful illegal? Why am I just now hearing about this? It was common as can be for land lines; why haven't people been complaining about this since cell phones were invented?

Anyway, in addition to the factual stuff, I'd like to debate the wisdom of this and the practice of "locking" phones. Why? Is it a good thing, or does it just line the cellular provider's pockets?

Last edited by DrCube; 12-27-2009 at 10:06 PM.. Reason: Added Wiki link FWIW. It's a stub. Whatever.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:22 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Now, having multiple phone lines is no big deal with POTS service.....It was common as can be for land lines
Are you really sure that having two separate physical locations (outside the in-house hardware and the network interface outside your house) for the same phone line is something that local phone companies offer?


To answer your last question, there is a PR reason, and a real reason

claimed reason: they subsidize your phone and thus the tradeoff is that it's network locked
real reason: they don't want you to leave until they've gotten enough revenue from you. i believe the practice nowadays is to give customers the unlocking code to unlock the SIM-lock if you're out of contract and have been with them for x number of months.

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 12-27-2009 at 10:25 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:27 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Beans, Cod
Posts: 4,454
Possible workaround: apply to get a Google Voice number, and give that out as your primary phone number. Google Voice can direct your calls wherever you wish.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:29 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Possible workaround: apply to get a Google Voice number, and give that out as your primary phone number. Google Voice can direct your calls wherever you wish.
That won't help - there's only one SIM card that either has to be in the cell phone or this getup that he bought (which is basically a cell phone)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:35 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
There's a technical reason why it is not allowed. Your phone constantly sends out a signal that says, "Here I am!" and the routing is stored so that if someone calls, it is routed to the nearest tower quickly. The system was not designed to have two locations for one number.

You could program the phone yourself (if you know the process; I have), but the system doesn't distinguish you by phone number, but by a unique hexadecimal code that is associated with the phone number. That hex code and the number must be inserted in the national system. So if you programmed two phones with the same phone number, only the one the system knows about by hex number will ring.

There's no reason why the system couldn't be designed as you wish, but it wasn't, and probably won't be.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:37 PM
Uzi Uzi is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Hong Kong and Africa
Posts: 4,283
When I visited Hong Kong, I took an old GSM phone from work and bought a sim card in the airport to put in it. $20 later I had the sim card and 180 minutes to use before I had to top it up at any convenience store. The cost of a call from HK to Canada was less than the cost of calling locally in Calgary on my current mobile phone. $.07/min to Canada vs. $.25/min local calls in Canada. Yeah, it is expensive in Canada partly due to me now wanting to pay for a more expensive plan, but I use the phone so rarely that the higher cost per minute is better than being locked into a plan. As my phone in Canada is a CDMA phone I can't swap out sim cards, so I'm stuck with an obsolete phone.
Why can't I just go down to a store, buy a sim card, and put into whatever phone I want like I can do easily in HK?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:38 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
You could program the phone yourself (if you know the process; I have), but the system doesn't distinguish you by phone number, but by a unique hexadecimal code that is associated with the phone number. That hex code and the number must be inserted in the national system.
Can't 2 phones and SIMs be made with the same hex code? That sounds extremely problematic from a call routing standpoint (if one's in california and one's in NY, for example) but I don't know enough about wireless phone stuff to know if that's even feasible
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:39 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzi View Post
Why can't I just go down to a store, buy a sim card, and put into whatever phone I want like I can do easily in HK?
Um, you can. It's called prepaid. It is ubiquitous in the United States and probably Canada too.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:41 PM
Ruminator Ruminator is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Possible workaround: apply to get a Google Voice number, and give that out as your primary phone number. Google Voice can direct your calls wherever you wish.
Well, I have one of those "follow-me" type of numbers and I've learned that it doesn't get around people's tendencies to shortcut system you've put in place by making note of the number you call from.

For example, John calls my Google #555-123-4567 which then forwards to 555-867-5309. Works great.... until.... I miss John's call for whatever reason and I have to call him back. Now, John sees 555-867-5309 on his caller ID. He will make a mental note of 555-867-5309 and use that instead of the Google # for all future calls to me and Jenny.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:44 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Based on my expertise of having watched thousands of cop dramas, the solution is to clone your sim card.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:47 PM
Uzi Uzi is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Hong Kong and Africa
Posts: 4,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
Um, you can. It's called prepaid. It is ubiquitous in the United States and probably Canada too.
You mean a long distance calling card? That is different from a sim card, isn't it?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-27-2009, 10:51 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uzi View Post
You mean a long distance calling card? That is different from a sim card, isn't it?
No, I mean a prepaid SIM

http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/phones/...a-000007a2ac12

http://www.fido.ca/web/page/portal/F...o=prepaidPlans
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:01 PM
DrCube DrCube is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by emacknight View Post
Based on my expertise of having watched thousands of cop dramas, the solution is to clone your sim card.
From your link:
Quote:
V2 or later SIM cards are very difficult to copy as additional copy protection and anti tamper protocols have been added to the cards. A V2 card is anything made circa 2002 and later (this includes 3G cards). Any attempt to copy a V2 or newer card could result in the card being rendered utterly useless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins
Are you really sure that having two separate physical locations (outside the in-house hardware and the network interface outside your house) for the same phone line is something that local phone companies offer?
I'm talking about having several phones in my house ring whenever someone calls me. This way I can answer and make calls from whichever phone is more convenient.
Quote:
claimed reason: they subsidize your phone and thus the tradeoff is that it's network locked
real reason: they don't want you to leave until they've gotten enough revenue from you. i believe the practice nowadays is to give customers the unlocking code to unlock the SIM-lock if you're out of contract and have been with them for x number of months.
I could see that being the case if they didn't already charge draconian sums for early contract termination.

So far, Musicat's explanation is the only one that seems legitimate -- and yet from what I can tell it is possible, just extremely hard and of dubious legality, to clone a SIM card and use the same number with two phones.

And we're leaning towards the pay-as-you-go SIM for her rotary phone, but it isn't the same since it won't have the same number.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:02 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Would a cellphone docking station help?
If you can find one compatible with your phone, at least you could have multiple phones in the home linked to a docked cell phone...

http://www.phonelabs.com/prd05.asp e.g.

I am completely ignorant on the subject, so I won't be of much help, I'm afraid.
I've only heard about them the last few years and don't know anyone who uses one.

Phones are locked to make it easier for a carrier to provide you with a teaser phone which binds you to the carrier.
I've persuaded them to unlock them before (for overseas use) and of course there are hacks which do so...probably illegally.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 12-27-2009 at 11:06 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:06 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
From your link:

I'm talking about having several phones in my house ring whenever someone calls me. This way I can answer and make calls from whichever phone is more convenient.
I could see that being the case if they didn't already charge draconian sums for early contract termination.

So far, Musicat's explanation is the only one that seems legitimate -- and yet from what I can tell it is possible, just extremely hard and of dubious legality, to clone a SIM card and use the same number with two phones.
If they're all in the same house than they're all using the same tower, so no big deal. At the end of the day, this is done by a variety of tv-based law enforcement entities to eavesdrop on a cellphone call.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:08 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
From your link:

I'm talking about having several phones in my house ring whenever someone calls me. This way I can answer and make calls from whichever phone is more convenient.
The only proper analogy for a cell phone is if you have your own cell phone tower in your house that is permanently and exclusively locked to your cell phone and subscriber account.

This is like asking why can't trains travel on the NY thruway.

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 12-27-2009 at 11:09 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:09 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by emacknight View Post
If they're all in the same house than they're all using the same tower, so no big deal.
I could see this being true for the boonies. But a densely populated area?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:15 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Missed edit window: that thing that Chief Pedant linked to is a less inane analogy
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:15 PM
DrCube DrCube is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
The only proper analogy for a cell phone is if you have your own cell phone tower in your house that is permanently and exclusively locked to your cell phone and subscriber account.

This is like asking why can't trains travel on the NY thruway.
Right, I understand that cellular networks are physically and conceptually different from POTS networks. And if it wasn't possible, I'd take Musicat's answer as the final word and be done with it. But some googling make it seem that there are people out there who, through much effort and with questionable legality, manage to clone their SIM and use multiple cell phones with a single number.

Is it just a matter of "A few hackers can get away with it, but if we allowed everyone to do it we would have to redesign the entire network"?
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:20 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
The phone system must know the ESN (Electronic Serial Number in Hex) for the phone. It associates it with the number people dial to reach the ESN. When you sign up for a phone account, this number pair is entered into the national system. When someone phones your number, the last known location of the corresponding ESN is used to route the call.

So it is possible to have many phones with the same phone number but a different ESN, if you program it yourself (cloning is one way), but when you try to tell the system what your ESN is, it will replace any other set of ESN/phone numbers, wiping those out. Or, if you don't tell the phone system about it, it will never ring.

Making emergency calls from the phone will probably work, cause there is no verification of ESN to let the call thru. But...somewhere along the line, things are going to be confused, you betcha.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:25 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Is it just a matter of "A few hackers can get away with it, but if we allowed everyone to do it we would have to redesign the entire network"?
Who is this "everyone" you speak of??

I think cell phones could handle it, or figure out how to in spite of technological issues, if there were a bunch of consumers who didn't want their portable phone to be... portable anymore

This would fit my definition of a very fringe service that they wouldn't bother spending the time or money on.

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 12-27-2009 at 11:25 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:42 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
Can't 2 phones and SIMs be made with the same hex code? That sounds extremely problematic from a call routing standpoint (if one's in california and one's in NY, for example) but I don't know enough about wireless phone stuff to know if that's even feasible
Sure they can. As long as you can enter the duplicate data in the system without hiccupping, that might work. If all companies shared with all other companies all their data, sooner or later there would be a clash, and probably both phones will stop working. In a perfect system, they would share, but it's possible that far-apart companies are separate enough to make it work. That's something I don't know enough about.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 12-27-2009, 11:48 PM
DrCube DrCube is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
So it is possible to have many phones with the same phone number but a different ESN, if you program it yourself (cloning is one way), but when you try to tell the system what your ESN is, it will replace any other set of ESN/phone numbers, wiping those out. Or, if you don't tell the phone system about it, it will never ring.
Why can't the system keep a list of multiple ESNs for a single phone number? Why is it one-to-one? Why can't the towers route calls to every ESN with that number, rather than only one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins
Who is this "everyone" you speak of??

I think cell phones could handle it, or figure out how to in spite of technological issues, if there were a bunch of consumers who didn't want their portable phone to be... portable anymore

This would fit my definition of a very fringe service that they wouldn't bother spending the time or money on.
I don't mean in the same house, I mean "everywhere". The docking station is not what I want. I want to call my wife and have both the mobile in her pocket and the rotary in her purse ring. I want them both to ring even if she leaves one at home. Analogous (but not completely) to how multiple wired phones can ring in my house when I'm called.

I think this would be a service that would be in high demand and I'm kind of curious why it hasn't come up before. Wouldn't Paris Hilton want a different fancy jewel-encrusted phone to go with each new outfit? Wouldn't it be valuable to have a hands free car phone separate from one's regular mobile?

Now, one hurdle I've just thought of is that in my home, if my wife and I pick up the phone in different parts of the house we can talk to each other for free. Obviously this would be undesirable to the providers in a long-distance situation. But wouldn't that be easy to prevent?
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 12-28-2009, 12:00 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Why can't the system keep a list of multiple ESNs for a single phone number? Why is it one-to-one? Why can't the towers route calls to every ESN with that number, rather than only one?
It could, and I am reaching beyond my level of expertise, but my WAG is that it is due to the original concept in a database fashion. Think of how data is stored and looked up. A typical table would be:
Code:
Number........ESN
999 999-9996  0123456789ABC
999 999-9997  123456789ABCD
999 999-9998  234567890DCBA
999 999-9999  3456789ABCDEF
...etc. and there is a one-to-one correspondence between phone numbers and ESN. If you never need anything else, that's a simple system. Allowing for a multiple correspondence requires a much different, more complex database and greater storage requirements. Considering the basic system was designed many years ago, I suspect storage space was expensive enough to be kept to a minimum.

When you are designing a system, you try to include forseen AND FREQUENT events, but not unusual ones. The system works for 99% of all customers, just not for you, and to handle the 1% might take excessive resources to accomodate.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 12-28-2009, 12:35 AM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
I think this would be a service that would be in high demand and I'm kind of curious why it hasn't come up before. Wouldn't Paris Hilton want a different fancy jewel-encrusted phone to go with each new outfit? Wouldn't it be valuable to have a hands free car phone separate from one's regular mobile?
Bluetooth accomplishes the car aspect. As for the rest, I am still not really convinced that people want multiple phones ringing when their cell phone is called. Nowadays, it's an accessory that most people don't keep more than 10 feet away from them at all times. As for the new phone for new tastes... that's what faceplates were for. Now they're viewed like a set of car keys. May clash with what you're wearing, but kind of a PIA to have 10 sets of car keys with different types of keychains to go with your clothes. The styling of cell phones is certainly neutral and innocuous enough.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 12-28-2009, 10:57 AM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Why can't the system keep a list of multiple ESNs for a single phone number? Why is it one-to-one? Why can't the towers route calls to every ESN with that number, rather than only one?


I don't mean in the same house, I mean "everywhere". The docking station is not what I want. I want to call my wife and have both the mobile in her pocket and the rotary in her purse ring. I want them both to ring even if she leaves one at home. Analogous (but not completely) to how multiple wired phones can ring in my house when I'm called.

I think this would be a service that would be in high demand and I'm kind of curious why it hasn't come up before. Wouldn't Paris Hilton want a different fancy jewel-encrusted phone to go with each new outfit? Wouldn't it be valuable to have a hands free car phone separate from one's regular mobile?

Now, one hurdle I've just thought of is that in my home, if my wife and I pick up the phone in different parts of the house we can talk to each other for free. Obviously this would be undesirable to the providers in a long-distance situation. But wouldn't that be easy to prevent?
I don't think the reason is as nefarious as you describe. I think part of the attraction of a cell phone is that when I ring one it rings to exactly one target. Either the target is there to answer me or they are not. I am uninterested in ringing two phones looking for Susie only to have Betsy answer Susie's spare. That would be very annoying for me. Now how do I get hold of Susie to tell her Betsy picked up?

At home, it's different. I want to be able to pick up the closest phone, and maybe that's why cell phone dockers have a market. But anywhere else, I don't get it. If you just want to use different devices, perhaps an easier mechanism to swap out SIMS would solve that problem, so I can use a different device for each pair of shoes. But even there I don't see the high demand you do. I don't see people buying lots of phones. We get used to how one device works and we keep stuff on it as well, including phone numbers and addresses and photos and so on. And the market has already figured out how to customize phones with things like decorative condoms.

For me, at least, it's a step back to have a single number ring on multiple devices, except in certain specialized applications such as a central call paging in an entire response team--and those sorts of solutions already exist. In the cell phone world, one of the main drivers is that when I ring DrCube, only DrCube's single device is rung. I'm not looking for some other location. That point-to-point target is a great convenience for me.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 12-28-2009, 11:59 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
Now, one hurdle I've just thought of is that in my home, if my wife and I pick up the phone in different parts of the house we can talk to each other for free. Obviously this would be undesirable to the providers in a long-distance situation. But wouldn't that be easy to prevent?
If you are asking why cellphones don't act like wireless home phones, it's for technological reasons. In spite of the apparent similarities (both are cordless and both are phones), they are quite different animals and work on completely different principles.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 12-28-2009, 01:47 PM
Gangster Octopus Gangster Octopus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Isn't there a security or privacy aspect? By attaching one number to one phone it makes it harder for others, especially unauthorized others, to get your calls.

Last edited by Gangster Octopus; 12-28-2009 at 01:47 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 12-28-2009, 02:50 PM
CaveMike CaveMike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
It could, and I am reaching beyond my level of expertise, but my WAG is that it is due to the original concept in a database fashion. Think of how data is stored and looked up. A typical table would be:

...

When you are designing a system, you try to include forseen AND FREQUENT events, but not unusual ones. The system works for 99% of all customers, just not for you, and to handle the 1% might take excessive resources to accomodate.
Musicat's explanations have been really good. I'll add a piece of the answer to this last question.

If you allow a single phone number to ring several phones, it increases the system complexity quite a bit. Consider two mobile phones associated to the same phone number. The mobile phones might be on the same tower or they might be on opposite sides of the country. An incoming call to this phone number would have to ring both phones, wait for either to answer, and if neither does, go to voicemail. But there are a lot of devils in the details. If one phone answers, you have to signal the other phone to stop ringing. What if both phones answer? Who gets the call? How do you handle the ringing call if both phones are moving and handing off between towers? What about three or more phones? And who is the responsible network component to handle this additional logic?

It can be done -- and it is on many systems. The system architecture for SIP VOIP supports this 'forking' functionality, but it is a pain. If the network planners consider this requirement to be rarely used, then it probably won't be worth the additional effort.

I'll mention a couple of other things related to points up-thread.

Since the OP is using a SIM, their network is GSM instead of CDMA. There are some minor differences.

As Musicat mentioned, only one CDMA phone can be registered at a time, so only one phone will receive calls at a time. However, both should be able to make outgoing calls since the phone will automatically register before placing the outgoing call. The phone that made the outgoing call would then be the phone to receive subsequent incoming calls. I don't know if this is true on GSM; for some reason I think it is not exactly the same.

A CDMA system uses two identifiers: one for the phone device (ESN or MEID) and one for the phone number (I can't remember this acronym MSN?). A GSM system uses three identifiers: one for the mobile phone (IMEI), one for the SIM (IMSI), and one for the phone number (MSISDN). The database associates these three numbers in order to route incoming calls.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 12-28-2009, 02:58 PM
CaveMike CaveMike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Missed the edit window:

I forgot to mention: The reason why forking is easy on your home phones is because they all share the same circuit. The network rings the circuit and it could care less if one or more phones answer at the same time. It is electrically equivalent.

Office phone systems can do this too because the logic is managed by the local network box -- the PBX. It has to deal with the same issues I mentioned earlier, but since the phones don't move, it is slightly easier. VOIP PBX's can handle both forking and mobility, but they went through some pain to do it. However, this feature is very important for an office setting -- it is a big enough requirement to require the pain.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 12-28-2009, 03:40 PM
mswas mswas is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Censored
Posts: 19,009
This shouldn't be a problem for very much longer as phones become merely VOIP terminals and have no voice connection, only a Data connection. Cell phones are finally getting out of the proprietary slump that follows the beginning of any emergent technology and are finally achieving the status where the hardware is disposable and not linked to various data accounts in any meaningful way.

Last edited by mswas; 12-28-2009 at 03:41 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 12-28-2009, 04:50 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
So I bought my wife a rotary cell phone for Christmas, but it's kind of a pain to remove her SIM card and put it in the rotary every time she wants to use it.
I do not understand the point of the rotary cell phone. How does she fit it in her purse?

No, seriously, I don't understand the point of the rotary cell phone. It seems to defeat the whole purpose of a cell phone. If you want a rotary phone, you can get a refurbished one to plug into your home phone system. If it's the cordlessness you're after, well, it still has a cord connecting to the base. What am I missing here?

I almost bought a Uniden home cordless phone system at Costco that will also accept your cell phone calls if you are at home, similar to this. This may be along the same line as the docking phone setup referred to in a previous post, but it's done via bluetooth so you don't have to plug in your cell phone to it; it's done automatically. It seems like a simpler way to accomplish what you're after.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 12-28-2009, 04:56 PM
CaveMike CaveMike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
No, seriously, I don't understand the point of the rotary cell phone. It seems to defeat the whole purpose of a cell phone. If you want a rotary phone, you can get a refurbished one to plug into your home phone system. If it's the cordlessness you're after, well, it still has a cord connecting to the base. What am I missing here?
I'm not the OP, but I guess it is just a cordless rotary phone. Sure, the handset has a cord, but the unit as a whole does not. The unit can be taken around the house, from room to room, or even outside.

I'm not sure why it is GSM instead of just a cordless phone, but it may be targeted for either a) European markets or b) for people that do not have a landline.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 12-28-2009, 05:02 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
I Am the One Who Bans
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 78,236
Modding

Moved to General Questions from Great Debates.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 12-28-2009, 05:17 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
No, seriously, I don't understand the point of the rotary cell phone. It seems to defeat the whole purpose of a cell phone. If you want a rotary phone, you can get a refurbished one to plug into your home phone system. If it's the cordlessness you're after, well, it still has a cord connecting to the base. What am I missing here?
It's a wonderful gift for the luddite in your family
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 12-28-2009, 05:44 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I do not understand the point of the rotary cell phone. How does she fit it in her purse?

No, seriously, I don't understand the point of the rotary cell phone. It seems to defeat the whole purpose of a cell phone. If you want a rotary phone, you can get a refurbished one to plug into your home phone system. If it's the cordlessness you're after, well, it still has a cord connecting to the base. What am I missing here?

I almost bought a Uniden home cordless phone system at Costco that will also accept your cell phone calls if you are at home, similar to this. This may be along the same line as the docking phone setup referred to in a previous post, but it's done via bluetooth so you don't have to plug in your cell phone to it; it's done automatically. It seems like a simpler way to accomplish what you're after.
Who bothers with a land line any more?????
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 12-28-2009, 08:00 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Who bothers with a land line any more?????
I do. And if someone calls me from a cell, I ask if they can call instead from a landline so we can communicate properly. The quality of cellphone connections in my area is abominable, one-way instead of two-way, the fidelity is terrible, the effective squelch too aggressive, cutting off the start and end of phrases and making some conversations unintelligible. It's very hard to carry on a conversation with a cell phone on one or both ends.

Remember when Sprint used to advertise the sound quality? No longer exists, except thru landlines. I'd be happy if all cellphones were abolished, but I have to put up with them myself for portability reasons.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 12-29-2009, 11:18 AM
naita naita is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
I can get a second SIM-card for my GSM cell phone subscription here in Norway. Both phones will ring if I get an incoming call. Is this impossible to implement in the CDMA system, or just not offered? And is it an available service in the US from any provider?
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 12-29-2009, 11:38 AM
Critical1 Critical1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Actually there is a very very legit reason for this service.

I am working on starting up a new business and would LOVE to avoid getting a land line number if at all possible. it would simplify things immensely if I could get 3 cell phones all cued to ring off of a single number, one for me, one for my partner and one for the main office.

the goal here is simple. land line phones are archaic, you cant text/receive texts on them, and you are attached to the damn things with pen and paper in order to clear voice mails.

with a cell you can set the business up to receive customer texts from the start and you can check voice mails over the net with headphones leaving your hands free to do this crazy thing called typing. also you can click to listen to a message again instead of navigating some stupid ass phone menu AND you can simply store a message permanently on your hard drive for later if its important/crazy/has legal ramifications.

I really really want this to happen.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 12-29-2009, 11:44 AM
CaveMike CaveMike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Critical1 View Post
I am working on starting up a new business and would LOVE to avoid getting a land line number if at all possible. it would simplify things immensely if I could get 3 cell phones all cued to ring off of a single number, one for me, one for my partner and one for the main office.
As I understand it, your needs as slightly different than the OP. The OP would like two mobile phones to be associated with a single account because both phones are for the same person. They don't really want to pay for two different mobile phone services.

In your case you have three different people with three different mobile phones, but you want a single phone number for customer calls and voicemails. This is possible by routing the customer number to the three mobile phones. Look at using a Google Voice account associated with your three mobile phones (as someone mentioned up-thread). I think it will do exactly what you want and it is free.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 12-29-2009, 11:59 AM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Just as a data point, before blue-tooth car sets were ubiquitous, at least one of the Israeli providers (Pelephone) used to offer this very service on it's CDMA network -- you'd get two handsets, once for your car, one handheld, which had the same number but different MSNs. They didn't ring *together*, but first the Car Phone rang, then the Handheld, then it went to voice mail.

I'm pretty sure they couldn't, and certainly wouldn't, allow stringing three phones together (although they probably could if you were willing to forgo voice mail)

I know that some businesses were allowed to string together a pair of handhelds in this manner, so that if the primary recipient couldn't answer, a backup could. This could be used by SOHO businesses like plumbers, electricians etc....

Not exactly what the OP wanted, though -- the phones wouldn't ring together. This did however neatly dispose of the "two phones on different towers" problem.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 12-29-2009, 05:26 PM
DrCube DrCube is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I do not understand the point of the rotary cell phone. How does she fit it in her purse?

No, seriously, I don't understand the point of the rotary cell phone. It seems to defeat the whole purpose of a cell phone. If you want a rotary phone, you can get a refurbished one to plug into your home phone system. If it's the cordlessness you're after, well, it still has a cord connecting to the base. What am I missing here?
It's a geek novelty. I was intrigued by the idea of building one as a project in my free time (there are instructions on the website) and showed my wife. She thought it was cool and wanted one, but with school and looking for a job and such I never got around to making it. So I ended up just buying one for her. I'll dig up one of my mom's old rotaries eventually to convert myself.

We both are kind of old-timey in some ways and thought it would be neat to have a loud bell ringer go off in the grocery store or someplace and pull out an old rotary phone and answer it. It's a head turner and it does fit in her purse. It's a pain in the ass to dial 10 digit numbers every time you want to make a call though, which is why we wanted to see if we could make both of them work at the same time.

And thanks for all the answers, guys. I learned a lot about cellular networks from this thread. I think we're just going to buy a prepaid SIM card and hand out both numbers to people so they can either call the cell or the rotary. Not ideal but easy enough.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 12-29-2009, 08:45 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
This is what I want.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 12-29-2009, 08:55 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Also, you can download an old-fashioned telephone bell ringer ringtone for your cell phone if it doesn't come pre-loaded. I get a kick out of those.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 05-12-2010, 04:33 AM
Kobyufc Kobyufc is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
You guys bulshiting too much

Way you guys answer to a post if you don't now .
I have 2 phones 1 number.

Last edited by Kobyufc; 05-12-2010 at 04:34 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 05-12-2010, 07:34 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 51,914
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobyufc View Post
Way you guys answer to a post if you don't now .
I have 2 phones 1 number.
How does it work? Your post is useless without elaboration.

Last edited by Mangetout; 05-12-2010 at 07:34 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 05-12-2010, 10:00 AM
mlees mlees is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
Are you really sure that having two separate physical locations (outside the in-house hardware and the network interface outside your house) for the same phone line is something that local phone companies offer?
With copper wire land lines, you can go to the phone punch-down block and jumper/cross-connect the lines together. I don't know if the phone company would do this if requested. Probably.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 05-12-2010, 10:20 AM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 9,776
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
How does it work? Your post is useless without elaboration.
Somehow I suspect it will be useless even with elaboration.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 05-12-2010, 11:24 AM
Bbusyb Bbusyb is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
I'm surprised no one has popped in yet to mention that this service , usually called Multi Sim have been available in Europe and Asia For a number of years.

They are usually offered as a perk for Business Customers or people on more expensive plans who want the ability to have multiple phones which they can use without having the hassle of changing SIM's as those customers are more likely to have more expensive unsubsidised or unlocked phones..

On my Carrier here in Egypt, Vodafone, they offer the service for a One time charge of LE100 (US$18) and a Monthly Charge of LE 50 (US$9) for two Additional SIM's which I can pop into different Handsets from which all their services (Voice, SMS, Data) are available. My other carriers in the UK also offer this service as does the Carrier I use in India.

Back to the OP's question, it's usually a Carrier Supported Service, and is often reserved for business customers so even normal CS or in store personal may not be aware of it if it is available. Still it may be possible to check by searching for the term "Multi SIM" and your carrier to find out if it is available.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.