IoT SIMsEverything you've ever wanted to know about IoT SIMs


A SIM basically provides a means through which a device can connect to a mobile network, provided by a mobile network operator (MNO). Further, while allowing connectivity is essential, the SIM also enables registration and authentication – just because a device can connect to the mobile network, it doesn’t mean that it should be allowed to do so.

The SIM handles this process. It can be a physical device that you can insert or remove – just like the ones you use in your normal mobile phone – or it can be an integrated component, as we shall see. An IoT SIM is simply one that is optimised to support data services, which is what most devices need.

  • What does an IoT SIM card do?

    The SIM was one of the outstanding innovations that GSM brought to wireless communications. With a universal standard, any SIM-enabled device can connect to any of the hundreds of mobile networks in the world. This innovation is what enables your mobile phone to connect to a network when you switch it on, and to stay connected.

    An IoT SIM performs exactly the same function. While this facilitates connectivity, it also brings additional benefits for security and services. SIMs are unique and, through a combination of keys and identifiers, enable authentication when connecting to a network. This happens automatically – but because the process depends on specific steps, through which the SIM is checked, it also means that they security can be actively maintained, they can be remotely activated and deactivated – an important detail. If a SIM is identified as suspect, it can be denied access, or, if suspicious behaviour is detected, they can be disabled and blocked. Similarly, the SIM also identifies the services to which a subscriber has access.

  • What is an eSIM and how will it change things

    This is a term you are bound to hear. Traditional SIMs come in different sizes, but all share the fact that they are physical things that can be inserted and removed. An eSIM takes the technology and puts it onto a chip that’s permanently integrated into the device, so it can neither be removed nor tampered with. In practice, this means that the information that allows the device to connect to the network is downloaded to the chip via wireless connectivity.

    There are special procedures to enable this to happen – for example, when a device is first activated. This means that the information – more correctly known as a ‘profile’ can be changed remotely, or multiple profiles stored for use. For your business, this means that, as eSIM-capable devices begin to proliferate, there's no need to change SIMs.

    When will the market be ready for eSIM? Soon. It’s taken a while for the market to get going, but current estimates suggest that there may be nearly 3.5 billion eSIM devices deployed by 2025. So, while your devices may not be equipped with eSIMs today, they probably will be in a short while.

  • What should I look for in an IoT SIM?

    The only things you really need to care about are:

    • Can I connect in the countries in which I need to deploy?
    • Can I get the most effective rates for all of my devices, wherever they are?
    • Are the inherent security mechanisms fully enforced and supplemented with extra levels?
    • Can I use alternative networks, if the preferred networks are unavailable?
    • Can I manage all of my remote connections and devices, in a single place?
    • Of course, you can explore all sorts of other details, but this is enough to be getting on with. What you need is a partner that just delivers, giving you the connectivity you need for your business, information to support your activities and a reliable service as you grow, so you don’t need to worry about how things are connected.

  • Why do prices differ and how can I protect my business against surprises?

    The prices you pay are set by your mobile service provider. When you use other networks, the prices are determined by the relationship your provider has with the operator of that network. It may be a direct relationship or indirect, via other partners.

    This means that there can be a bewildering array of prices. What you need is a partner that offers simple pricing that is based on the best deals, so you don’t have to worry about checking prices for each and every location in which you want to deploy.

  • Do I need more than one SIM?

    Normally, when changing network provider, you need to change your SIM. That’s because you have a contract with a mobile provider and, through this provider, devices can also attach to other mobile networks. If you change your primary provider, then, until recently, this meant that a new SIM would be required.

    This is changing, thanks to eSIMs (on which more shortly). Currently, most devices still need a physical SIM, which does mean that swaps can be required. In terms of logistics, this can present challenges. If you are deploying devices in one country, then this may not be an issue. If, however, you plan to deploy in multiple countries, you need a partner that can give you the best rates and the widest choice of connectivity option, so you can standardise on a single SIM, removing the headache of changing SIMs for different locations.

  • How do I manage my IoT SIMs?

    Through a portal! You need a solution that tells you where your devices are, what they are doing, and more – giving you control and accurate accounting.

    You also need to be able to use this data in your business processes, so the ability to both view key information (through a single pane of glass) and to integrate with it for the transfer of information regarding your devices, is essential.

  • How can Telecom26 help?

    Your business is probably quite complicated. Mobile networks are also complicated and so too is building and operating a network of partners to assure the best service.

    A single partner, with the right connections and reach, backed by the right technical solutions can remove all of the complexity of obtaining and assuring connectivity from your business, solving the problem, so you can focus on your own success – and reduce operating expenses.

    Don’t forget, it’s not just about pricing per bit (or Gb), there are other costs, such as shipping, maintaining multiple relationships with different providers, sourcing and so on. We enable you to minimise or eliminate them. Once you’ve partnered with us, you’ll be covered. Interested? Want to learn more? Get in touch!

  • What is Telecom26?

    Telecom26 is a single, global network optimised for IoT. We give you the best connectivity, anywhere you need it. So, if you are thinking about optimising supply, transport and logistics chains, you need a partner that understands both the tech and the geography, so you can get connected, end-to-end.

    We offer a truly global IoT connectivity solution which matches your ambitions and requirements, backed by a unique mix of network assets. Our expertise, knowledge and flexibility enable us to tailor solutions to specific markets and locations. Telecom26 - The network that’s optimised for IoT connectivity.

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