IoT SIM cards: Secure and reliable connectivity for wirelessly connecting the world

IoT stands for Internet of Things. This refers to the steadily growing interconnection of physical devices in digital networks. But for things like vehicles, machines and many more to be able to transmit data, they need access to the Internet. This is provided by our IoT SIM card, which can usually be simply inserted into the corresponding device and then provides the end device with the information it needs to transmit data via mobile communications and the Internet.

The Internet of Things - Networking the World

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the linking of real devices and other things with a virtual reality, the Internet. And this networked reality is growing day by day with the help of sensors, software and other technologies that exchange data via the Internet. It has long since ceased to be just about IoT solutions in production or industry. In the meantime, a multitude of networked applications have also arrived in our everyday lives: From the pulse rate in a fitness tracker to the location and condition of refrigerated trucks - everything that can be measured in some way can be communicated. But in order to make generated data volumes usable, they first have to be transmitted and processed. Particularly for objects and devices that cannot be networked by cable, an IoT SIM card is used for this purpose. It is the devices' ticket to the Internet and enables the reliable and secure transmission of data worldwide.

What is an IoT SIM card?

An IoT SIM card is a SIM card that enables different devices to connect to the mobile network to transmit data. Our IoT SIM cards can be used in a wide variety of devices, from GPS trackers to charging stations and alarm systems, to machines and VR applications.

Most people have probably inserted a SIM card into their cell phone at some point. But these SIM cards, as they are known, are not suitable for IoT projects. IoT SIMs, for example, are not designed to be used for telephony. An IoT SIM card is primarily about data transmission. The devices in which IoT SIM cards are used usually need to transmit data permanently or at set intervals. But for this to succeed, they must be able to establish a reliable and secure connection. This is solved via national roaming: an IoT SIM card has "access information" with which an end device can use several mobile networks within a country and across national borders, so that it can access a network for data transmission everywhere. Accordingly, data tariffs for IoT projects are based on which countries the IoT SIM cards are used in.

Due to the fact that IoT SIM cards provide different network information, they are also called multi-network SIM cards or roaming SIMs. The term M2M SIM card is also often used in this context. Strictly speaking, there is no real difference between the types of SIM cards mentioned. The terms are often used synonymously, even if, for example, IoT and M2M themselves do not actually mean the same thing. Technically speaking, we are always talking about SIM cards that serve as access to the mobile network. The devices in which M2M and IoT SIM cards are used can transmit and receive data through the SIMs. So anyone who was originally looking for an M2M SIM card can equally use IoT SIM cards.


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The right SIM format for every IoT device

In order to meet the different requirements of end devices and machines, SIM formats have been and continue to be constantly developed. To ensure that the SIM cards themselves take up as little space as possible, the size has been significantly reduced, leaving more room for other components if required. Basically, a distinction is made between the SIM card formats mini, micro and nano. There are also embedded SIMs that are soldered directly into the modem as a chip. In addition to the standard version, the different formats are also available as "Industrial SIM". This more robust variant is designed, for example, for an extended temperature range and a longer service life.


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 tariffs: Tailored data tariffs for every IoT project

Regardless of whether for M2M or IoT projects - the special requirements for the cellular tariff are important when used for such projects. Effort and costs for commissioning, maintenance and control of the devices must be in proportion even for devices with a relatively low value - especially if the numbers of units exceed far more than a thousand. For this reason, the classic mobile communications tariffs with monthly bills or contract terms of 12 or more months are unsuitable for IoT applications.

Since it is primarily a matter of transmitting data, IoT tariffs must cover a significantly larger tariff bandwidth: Data requirements range from just a few kilobytes to several gigabytes, depending on the use case. Accordingly, there are a large number of different IoT tariffs and billing options specifically for IoT projects.

One very popular tariff model is data pooling. In this constellation, all IoT SIM cards assigned to the pool use a shared data quota. This is especially useful when 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 dynamically expand it: with each additional active IoT SIM card, the data volume available for all IoT SIMs grows by a fixed amount. In this way, the data volume grows in line with the number of active IoT SIM cards, without users having to take anything into account or set anything extra here for each activation.

In addition to the different data packages, the available network technologies also play an important role for 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 developed specifically 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 use cases that need to transmit data in the most energy-efficient way possible or from rather inaccessible areas such as basements.


Management & Monitoring: Web portal for IoT management

For easier management and inventory, a separate platform is usually provided for IoT SIM cards. Both IoT SIMs and associated end devices can be configured via this platform. In our online portal, our customers can, for example, set up their service profiles for deployed IoT SIM cards, activate or deactivate SIM cards, or even specifically exclude mobile networks for individual IoT SIMs (blacklisting).

In addition to managing the IoT SIM cards via such portals, they are also used to monitor the SIM cards. In our dashboard, for example, the status of end devices can be viewed, as well as which mobile network an IoT SIM card is currently connected to or how high the data consumption has been so far. Various diagnostic functions, such as the remote reset of the IoT SIMs, also help in the event of problems.

Complementing technical performance, the online portal is the first port of call for monitoring an IoT SIM card against improper use, misuse or unexpectedly high costs. We map cost control via various configuration options and alerting functions. Data limits and notifications, for example, prevent excess data consumption (overconsumption / overuse) or at least inform responsible parties in time to decide whether additional costs of the IoT SIM should be accepted or avoided. Once a data limit has been set and reached for an IoT SIM card, however, the device cannot transfer any more data unless the limit is manually suspended. Whether this makes sense or not depends on the use case. For some end devices and use cases, it is essential that the IoT SIM card is permanently connected. To avoid cost explosions here, the use of a data pool for all SIM cards can make sense. In this case, all active IoT SIM cards use a shared data quota, so that the additional consumption of one IoT SIM is offset by the lower consumption of another IoT SIM card. These data pools can be managed both statically and dynamically. Static means that the available data pool always remains constant regardless of the number of IoT SIM cards. A dynamic data pool would grow by a certain size with each additional active IoT SIM card.

In addition to our clear online portal, we offer our customers a comprehensive API that allows them to transfer data from their IoT SIM cards from our portal into their own systems.

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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