Before Google officially announced the Nexus 6P at the end of September, I Tweeted about the possibility that it might be a dual-SIM phone, based on seeing twin IMEI stickers on prototypes – a standard feature on all recent Huawei made phones with support for two SIM cards.

Imagine my disappointment when it turned out the final product wasn’t dual SIM after all.

But now it seems it might be capable of supporting two SIM cards after all, and Google has just opted to sell it as a single SIM product for some reason.

Given how much experience Huawei has in building dual SIM smartphones, there must be a good commercial reason that Google decided not to take advantage.

Perhaps there’s a plan for an updated model to be sold in the next few months, or maybe Huawei really wanted to reserve the dual SIM support for their own branded variant of the phone to come in the near future, but whatever the reason existing customers may already be almost ready to go right now.

Once the photos of the innards of the phone were revealed by iFixit.com, the ever creative bods on Xda-Developers.com weren’t about to wait any longer to get into action, and have already begun to try and create a modified SIM card tray to test out that second SIM reader.

Two SIM card readers on the Nexus 6P (photo: iFixit.com)
Two SIM card readers revealed inside the Nexus 6P (photo: iFixit.com)
Nexus 6P SIM Card Tray (image from fodawim on Xda-developers.com)
Nexus 6P SIM Card Tray that makes it quite clear that dual SIM support was part of the original design (photo: fodawim on Xda-developers.com)

Now, the chances are nothing much will happen without modifying the firmware on the Nexus 6P too, but that isn’t going to prove to be much of an obstacle for the ever creative developer community to deal with.

The next, and final, issue will be the IMEI. As in, there isn’t one for the second SIM (hence why there’s just the one sticker on the back of retail models).

But it seems it could be possible to get around this problem too, without causing issues with networks or attracting the attention of the authorities thinking people are illegally reprogramming serial numbers.

I know I’ve had review devices with IMEIs containing mostly zeroes, and they weren’t blocked by the network, but if there is anything that might throw a spanner in the works, then this is likely it.

However, a lot of people are clearly up for the challenge!

Not for the first time

Some people might remember when the Nexus 4 could be enabled for LTE with relative ease. Although there were some radio issues to deal with (that meant it wasn’t quite the case that you could just activate 4G and use it without issue) it was still a popular hack while it lasted.

This time around, it may well be that with a simple swap of a bit of plastic, and the flash of a custom ROM, all Nexus 6P users could gain a huge benefit for virtually no cost at all.

For those of you who haven’t got the time to keep watching the conversation on the Xda forum as it develops, I’ll keep you updated here when there’s any additional (hopefully good) news to report.

EDIT: January 2016; So far, everything seems to have gone rather quiet and it seems people have hit a few brick walls. However, I will still keep everyone updated if there’s any further news in the future.

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Written by Jonathan Morris

Writing about technology, with a focus on mobile, since the early 1990s! Former editor of What Mobile magazine, writer for The Telegraph, Stuff, Know Your Mobile, Pocket Gamer, Smart TV Radar and more. Regular Tweeter, occasional YouTuber, keen amateur photographer and forum moderator. If you like what I write, please consider deactivating your ad blocker or making a donation via PayPal to help fund this site.

4 comments

  1. I know I’ve seen screen shots on G+ of the 6p that clearly has dual sims, and at one point when I was messing around with the ROM I was on I got a quick pop-up asking what sim to use. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get it to happen again.

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