The first dual-SIM 5G phones could arrive in early 2020

MediaTek's new Dimensity 1000 chip could make 5G more practical.

Sure, you can buy a 5G phone right now if you're not picky, but for many that's just not an option without dual-SIM support -- some people need the flexibility, whether it's to use the lowest-cost service or just having separate work and personal lines. If you're one of them, you might have that option soon. MediaTek has formally revealed its previously-teased 5G system-on-chip, now called the Dimensity 1000, and it's billed as the first SoC to support 5G on two SIMs. You could have two lines without having to compromise on data speeds.

Thankfully, there might be speed to spare. MediaTek claims the "world's fastest" data throughput, with support for 4.7Gbps downstream and 2.5Gbps upstream on sub-6GHz 5G networks. There's WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1+ support, too. And yes, there should be some solid computing power to back up the wireless performance. The Dimensity 1000 touts four ARM Cortex-A77 high-performance cores, four low-power Cortex-A55 cores and a new AI unit that's twice as fast as the prior generation. A five-core image signal processor can handle up to 80-megapixel cameras, although you're more realistically going to see lower-resolution multi-camera devices.

The first phones using Dimensity 1000 chips should arrive in the first quarter of 2020. There's no guarantee dual-SIM 5G phones will be among them, but we wouldn't be surprised if there's a race to ship one before competitors show up in droves. Even if you have to wait, though, this is good news for 5G's early adopters. MediaTek's design promises to lower the cost and improve the power efficiency of 5G, and it'll support sub-6GHz wireless both in Asia (the company's home turf) as well as Europe and North America. In other words, there might be a 5G phone you can both afford and find in a store near you.