This is an IoT SIM card

  • Wireless internet connection for IoT devices
  • Maximum network coverage with national roaming
  • Flexible IoT data plans
M2M SIM from wherever SIM - All networks with one SIM card

Five facts about IoT SIM cards

  • IoT SIM cards enable end devices to transmit data via mobile networks as part of M2M (machine-to-machine) communication.
  • IoT SIMs - unlike consumer SIM cards such as those in smartphones - also allow connection to multiple mobile networks within a country (national roaming) as well as the use of various network technologies such as LTE-M and NB-IoT.
  • Comprehensive security and management options are available for IoT SIM cards. 
  • SIM cards are usually managed via an online portal of the IoT SIM provider. Some SIM providers also provide an API for integration into the user system.
  • Other names for IoT SIM are M2M SIM card, roaming SIM, global SIM, multi-net SIM, multi-IMSI SIM or multi-net SIM card. 
M2M sim card - wherever SIM

Areas of application for IoT SIM cards

IoT SIM card: The most important questions

Frequently asked questions about our IoT SIM solutions

National roaming:
Maximum network coverage with one IoT SIM

Probably the most important feature of an IoT SIM card: National roaming. This refers to the possibility of accessing several mobile networks within a country. In Germany, for example, the networks of Vodafone, o2/E-Plus and Telekom.

For end devices, this option means that an IoT SIM card offers significantly better network coverage and connection quality than classic consumer SIM cards, because: Consumer SIMs, as you know them from your own smartphone or tablet, are usually only allowed to use the mobile network of a SIM provider. If the provider has no network at a particular location, the IoT device is offline for the time being. When using IoT SIM cards, a connection is only interrupted if there really is no mobile network available at a location. The risk of connection interruptions is correspondingly low.

But there are not only differences between consumer SIMs and IoT SIMs; the IoT SIM cards themselves also differ in terms of roaming. 

Steered vs. non-steered roaming

What sounds rather trivial at first glance can actually be very important for some IoT and M2M projects. While the network of a SIM provider is always preferred for the connection in the case of steered roaming, there is no preference for a network in the case of non-steered roaming. Instead, the strength of the connection determines the choice of mobile network - the connection is then made via the strongest mobile network available at the location. In this way, the fluctuations in availability and connection quality of mobile networks at different locations can be balanced out.

Since no network operator in Germany is yet able to offer nationwide mobile network coverage, non-steered roaming makes sense especially for applications in which a stable data connection must be possible at all times - for example, for medical devices that constantly transmit data from a patient. The same applies to stationary terminals: If the reception of a provider is rather poor at the place of use, the device can most likely have repeated connection problems. After all, it is only when no connection to the home network is possible after several dial-up attempts that the mobile network of another provider may usually be used. In the worst case, a terminal device is more busy trying to dial into the network than transmitting data.

For other use cases, however, steered roaming can be more interesting due to the slightly lower costs, for example with GPS trackers. Whether the location is transmitted immediately or with a short delay is usually not critical.

National Roaming

IoT vs. consumer SIM:
Different SIM card types in comparison

To meet the many different requirements and circumstances of end devices and machines, there are IoT SIM cards in various formats. In addition to the classic IoT SIM formats mini, micro and nano, there are embedded SIMs that can be soldered on directly as a chip. There is also an "Industrial SIM" in addition to the standard version of the various formats. This more robust variant is designed for an extended temperature range and longer service life, for example.


IoT SIM formats of the wherever SIM
Available SIM Formats
Operating Temperature
Read/write Cycles
Data Retention
Standard M2M SIM

-25°C to +85°C

Read/write Cycles

500.000

10 years

Industrial M2M SIM

-40°C to +105°C

1.000.000

10 years at -40°C to +105°C
15 years at -25°C to +85°C

2FF, 3FF, 4FF

2FF, 3FF, MFF2

IoT plans: Tailored data plans for every IoT project

Regardless of whether for M2M or IoT projects - the special requirements for the mobile radio tariff are important when used for such projects. The effort and costs involved in commissioning, maintaining and monitoring the devices must be in proportion to their value, even for devices with a relatively low value - especially if the number of units far exceeds one thousand. For this reason, traditional mobile phone tariffs with monthly bills or contract terms of 12 months or more are often unsuitable for IoT applications.

As it is primarily about transferring data, IoT tariffs must cover a significantly larger tariff bandwidth: Data requirements range from just a few kilobytes to several gigabytes, depending on the application. Accordingly, there are a variety of different IoT tariffs and billing options specifically for IoT projects.

Data pooling is a very popular tariff model. In this constellation, all IoT SIM cards assigned to the pool use a shared data quota. This is particularly useful if the data consumption of an individual IoT SIM card fluctuates, but the excess consumption of individual SIM cards can be offset by the lower consumption of other SIMs. At wherever SIM , we not only offer data pooling itself, but also the option to expand it dynamically: with each additional active IoT SIM card, the data volume available for all IoT SIMs grows by a fixed amount. This means that the data volume grows in line with the number of active IoT SIM cards without users having to take anything into account or make any additional settings with each activation.

In addition to the different data packages, the available network technologies also play an important role with an IoT SIM card. In addition to the "classics" 2G, 3G and 4G, our IoT SIM cards can also use 5G networks and newer transmission technologies specially developed for the Internet of Things, such as NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) or LTE-M (Long Term Evolution for Machines). NB-IoT and LTE-M, for example, are particularly suitable for applications that need to transmit data as energy-efficiently as possible or from areas that are difficult to access, such as basements.


Do you have questions about our M2M & IoT SIM cards?

Write to us, or call us - our team of experts is looking forward to hearing from you.

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Laura Gaber
Author:
Laura Gaber
Date:
13.02.2024
Laura Gaber, M.Sc., is the longest-serving of our two Marketing Lauras. The Cologne native worked for several years as a communications all-rounder at EU level for the renewable energy sector. In 2016, Laura's curiosity drove her further afield - straight into the north and our arms. Since then, she has been dealing with the latest developments in digitalization, M2M communication and the IoT on a daily basis.

How do I find the perfect IoT SIM for my project?

With 5 questions to the right IoT SIM card

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Should the IoT SIM send data permanently or only intermittently? 

Are your IoT SIM cards in continuous use, or only for a certain duration, for example seasonally in harvesting machines or only at trade fairs?

Depending on this, an option to pause the IoT SIM card free of charge could be relevant for you in order to save the otherwise applicable basic charges during non-use of the IoT SIMs.... 

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How flexible should the activation of the IoT SIM cards be? 

Do you know when you will activate an IoT SIM and from when you will use it, or is the planned activation date unclear at the time of purchase?

If you want to buy a larger quantity of IoT SIMs to take out of your stock as needed, make sure you have an obligation to activate after a certain period of time. Otherwise, you may purchase your IoT SIM cards at a low price but have to activate them in one fell swoop three months after the purchase date. These obligations and deadlines are often hidden in the T&Cs and make a supposedly low-priced offer more expensive.

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Is there a (free) trial IoT SIM or test phase?

Do the IoT SIM card and hardware match? Are all the functionalities as you want and need them? Our recommendation: Do not buy an IoT SIM without first testing it with your hardware. Optimally, you can try out the IoT test SIMs free of charge over a period of several weeks to find out whether they are suitable for your project.

If you need more data volume than is usually provided for test phases, there is often the option of increasing the free data volume free of charge or for a small fee without having to sign a contract directly.

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Does the end device move with the IoT SIM, or is it permanently installed in one place?

Is your end device in motion, like a GPS tracker, or is it something stationary like an e-charging station?

For end devices that are on the move, the time required for a network change can be important.

For stationary end devices, on the other hand, it is usually more important to be able to access as many mobile networks as possible at one location so that another can be used immediately if one mobile network fails.

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Do you know the data consumption/demand of your project? Will the data consumption fluctuate or rather stay the same? 

Do you expect your data requirements to remain constant so that you can book a fixed M2M plan ? Or are changes to be expected, so that you may need to make adjustments here? Take a look at the options for adjusting a selected tariff even after the start of the project, or at possible shortened terms or termination modalities.

Depending on the use case, special tariff models such as data pooling may be more suitable and cheaper than fixed data packages per IoT SIM. In order to select the right IoT data tariff, you should have an idea of how much data an IoT SIM card or all IoT SIM cards used will require and whether data requirements tend to remain the same or are subject to fluctuations. If you lack experience in this regard, we strongly recommend a test phase before concluding a contract in order to have a reliable basis for your decision.

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