What is the difference between Dual Active and Dual Standby?

When buying a dual SIM mobile phone there is one feature that creates a lot of confusion among the customers. It is important to know what Dual Active and Dual Standby really means. Because once you open the handset box pack, there is no turning back.

So you want to buy a dual SIM and the specifications say it supports dual Standby, do you really know what it is or are you just happy that you can use 2 SIM on a single phone. In most cases customers get disappointed because they never understood the feature.

Dual Standby phone

The market is filled with a lot of low cost or high end phones that supports dual Standby mode. Read the word carefully and you will understand what it really means. Dual + Standby, this means the phone supports dual SIM but in Standby mode. In simple words when none of the SIM are used then both the SIM’s are active but when you are using a particular SIM the other SIM becomes inactive.

Another issue with dual standby phones that support 3G is that, when the 3G / 2G network is used the other SIM becomes inactive. Usually you will not notice this issue with normal usage, but try downloading a big file or watch a streaming YouTube video, the other SIM will be unreachable.

In dual standby if a person is using SIM 1 and another person is calling on SIM 2 they will hear the message “not reachable, try again later”.

Many of the dual SIM users usually talk more on one particular SIM and the other SIM is basically for their personal use – not so important, they don’t really have any issues with this mode. If you want both the SIM’s active at all times then this is not the feature you should are looking for.

Dual Active phone

Again as the same suggest its Dual phone with active mode which means both the SIM’s are active all the time. Dual active is relatively easier to understand. Use SIM 1 or SIM 2 for voice calls or net surfing the other SIM is always active you can still receive calls on the other SIM and even switch calls for example, you can keep the caller on SIM 1 on hold and talk to the other user on SIM 2.

There are very few dual Active phones available in India, so if you need this functionality make sure you choose the right option.

The Dual Standby phones use a single transceiver which at a given time can server only one SIM, whereas most dual Active phones comes dual transceiver, one for each SIM.

Do check before you buy the dual active phone because even when the manufacture says that it is dual active it still works like a dual standby.

Published by Gogi Rana

Founder and Chief Editor - gogi.in

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  1. I want to buy one plus 7 pro (Dual SIM dual-standby (4G+4G)) for 2 sim use. can I use both sim or not pleas clarify.

  2. “…Because once you open the handset box pack, there is no turning back….”
    Not true. In Canada you have 2 weeks to test the phone a then you can return it. And not only phone, laptop computers as well. All other products you have 30 days to return for no reason.

    1. If any company gives the same offer here in our country, it will be bankrupt with in two weeks time. People here have stolen LCD’ s from tourist/new launched trains…..our people want everything free against all dead devil deeds …

  3. I want to buy LG Q6 wherever it is mentioned :

    Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
    – MIL-STD-810G compliant

    Q1. What does it mean by above statement ?
    Q2. Shall I be able to use Internet while running a call from same sim or different sim ?

    1. whenever there is stand by then means no service will be active in that sim. its just siting idle and moreover network also cant page that IMSI.

  4. Great info. Thanks. Can you suggest some good Dual Active phone available in India and oblige.

  5. Dear Mr. Gogi,

    I have been reading your reviews on various mobiles and have found out to be very simple to understand.

    Just needed to know whether Moto x play is a dual active sim phone or dual standby?

    1. I have motox play and it is dual standby phone, if sim one is active on call then other sim doesnt work.

  6. I am travelling to Canada and plan to take a local SIM from there and want to use Indian SIM also in any dual SIM phone. Which phone should I buy as I want to use data and calling on Canadian number and remain connected on receiving calls from India on older number. Also I would like to redial the number received on Indian SIM from Canadian SIM as it would be cheaper. Please suggest which fone shall I buy…dual standby or dual active?

  7. Hi…am using samsung galaxy grand 2…n using sim1 for data use n sim 2 for calling n sms…. i am facing a huge problem here…when ppl calling me on sim2 they r receiving msg like my phone is not reachable…. what should i do? Pls help…..

  8. What is Active + Swap means ? Samsung Grand mobile supports this mode for dual sim..What does this suggest ?

  9. Hi,

    Thanks for clearing things up,
    I am looking for a Dual Sim Dual Active phone in India with a budget of INR 15K, but it is hard to find them..

    If anyone know any specific models, please suggest. Thanks.


  10. Vow, that was explained so clearly as though to a Kindergarten kid. Well done. I was wondering what these terms meant. When I asked a few salesmen at the store , they would give some vague answers

  11. Nice article… the information is correct and put in simple language for everyone to understand. Adding my 2 cents…

    Indian Government has banned Dual Active SIM’s so you can no longer see both SIM working. Its true that Dual active SIMs are right now only supported in samsumg mobiles, so in these mobiles, 2 SIM will be active but you can take call from only one SIM at a time. The moment any SIM is under use, the other will be temporarily disabled (until call on other SIM is over). So you will get “Not reachable” or “Mobile Turned Off” msg while other SIM is in use. Samsung supports call forwarding facility which allows user to forward calls on SIM2 to SIM1 while SIM1 is in use. But this facility uses call-forwarding which is chargeable from your telecom service provider. All other phones like MicroMax, Karbonn etc.. will come in dual SIM but they are mostly dual standy which means you have to switch between SIM’s in order to use them as only 1 SIM is active at a time (they have only one transceiver).

  12. Hey I’m using Dual sim standby android Jellybean mobile. After using a month I got about this. But I feel good in all sense about the mobile but when somebody calls to another no. and tells not reachable, then finds very bad. Please suggest any apps to get rid of this.

    Vinay Raj T

  13. Hello,
    I am really thankful to you . It is my biggest confusion between Dual sim standby and dual sim active. Thanks for this informative article.

  14. Dual active is crap. Why?

    1. you would NEVER talk using 2 networks anyway.
    2. will never write sms via 2 networks at the same time.
    3. will never surfer the web with 2 networks.
    4. Dual Active will emit more radiation, so higher cancer chance.

    1. My friend your reasoning capacity is limited hey, so tell me for instance if you’re downloading a large file that says ” 30% downloaded 45minutes remaining” and someone tries to call you for something important what will you do, call the download and lose the data or ignore the call and lose some important message?

    2. Yes, the download part is the problem. in every other meaning standby is better then acive, and you hear that from the person who owned dual ACITVE sim phone. My biggest issue was when I was using sim 1 and someone was calling on sim 2 they got free signal like I was not picking the phone which is CRAP!!!! (and then I got msg like why you dont want to speak with me….). In case of ACTIVE it depeands on your sim provider on how he manages the incoming calls, you can get busy signal, redirect to the voicebox or (in worst case) free signal. And in case of free signal, you will not get the SMS that someone was trying to reach you…

    1. Everything is explained in a brief manner and it’s very useful for me buy an dual active phone thank you…

  15. i have bought a dual sim dual avtive phone . and my problem is that my bro use my my mobile sometime but when his phone is off his call forward to me..plzzz help me…

    1. he must have used call-divert function. remove all the diversion and you will be fine

  16. Thanks for VERY EASY and LAYMAN language explanation.

    thanks again,

  17. Hi Gogi,

    I would like to know which models in India currently support and possess “Dual Active Sim” as I am planning to buy one.


  18. Hi Gogi,
    Thanks for telling this difference! Is it possible on dual standby phones that if sim1 is in use and some1 calls on sim2,then sim2 forwards the call to sim1?

  19. I hered that samsung galaxy ace duos / grand duos are dual active sim mobiles now. is it tru?

  20. I have searched a lot but all are giving very confusing statement. Can u please suggest any model with Dual active feature within 6K. I need only basic functionality with FM,internet and if possible longer battery backup. Android, games , full touch is not needed as such… Plz suggest?

  21. What if i use GRPS in SIM1 and call comes in SIM2 in stand by mode??…Will i get the call in SIM2 (please explain all cases like surfing, downloading, streaming, gprs ruuning in background for apps like whatsapp and facebook)??

    Because i am planning to use 1 sim for GRPS and other for SMS and Calls.

  22. Hey GOGI, I have Micromax A110. To switch sim for voice calling or else is sim management settings are the option to go for or is there any easy or direct way of doing that plz reply. Thanks..

  23. How about data connection on Dual standby phones (e.g. Karbonn A5) – if data connection is ‘ON’ on one of the sims, will the calls be receivable on other sim?

  24. Hi, I’ve not seen any other dual SIM phones except, those from Samsung, with active dual SIMs. I am using a B7722 (not android), with a 3G on SIM1 & 2G on SIM2. I’ve never faced any problem in receiving the calls on either of the SIMs.

    If you are looking for active DUAL SIM phones, your first option should be to look out for a phone from Samsung.


  25. I want to know that samsung recently launch basic dual sim phone no.-1207. in this both sim will works? means while tail with one sim another also show in waiting in second sim. Plz help me.

  26. Is there even a single phone available in the market today which is dual active, other features don’t matter to me much, all I need is this feature, please suggest me 1 or 2 phones, which are currently available or are upcoming in near future.

  27. Samsung galaxy s duos is a true dual active phone.Remember many manufacurer are asking you to use call forward facility from network provider on both sims on few dual standby phones andso that your calls will be forwarded or diverted if you choose "divert if unreachable" but this one is not true dual active and you cant swap calls between two active calls easily.

  28. I am confused about not getting display of contact name while receiving call even same number is saved with name. please help me to solve this problem.