Why Flexible Data Plans Are Critical for IoT Deployments

Not All IoT SIM Card Deployments Are Equal. Why Treat Them as Such?

Flexible Data Plans
Using Flexible Data Plans

Every day we are reminded that there is no “average” IoT project because of the many unique requests we receive for our connectivity solutions. There are as many different projects as anyone can dream of, literally, and each project has its own idiosyncrasies, and therefore have distinctive requirements from their IoT SIM card connectivity provider. These requirements and need for flexibility/customization is most often seen in the data plan consumption model(s) for the project. 

There are several ways that data plans can be customized/flexible. They include:

  • Pooled versus Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) plan models
  • One-time payment/use (think disposable SIMs)
  • Prepaid versus Postpaid
  • Unusually sized data plans
  • Plans for testing at manufacturer before full activation
  • Limiting the countries in which the IoT SIM can operate
  • Limiting the amount of Data an IoT SIM can consume
  • Many other customizations

For the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on the first of this list, Pooled Vs. PAYG plan models.

Years ago, all plans were essentially PAYG. Each SIM card had their own plan and consumed its own data, or they were simply charged be MB for the data they used. These plans are almost always Prepaid. Then Pooled data was introduced where all of the SIMs on an account share a “pool” of data. This type of plan is designed for a scenario where there are some SIM cards that use more data and others use less data. So long as the overall data consumption on the account doesn’t exceed the amount of the data pool, then there are no “overage” charges and costs are very consistent and predictable. So which plan is the “right” plan for your project? To answer this question, let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each plan type, and some typical use cases for each type of plan.  

PAYG plans are excellent for projects where each SIM card will use much different amounts of data, and/or have different use cases (could be multiple projects on a single account). This offers a lot of flexibility because each SIM can have a different plan, or no plan at all and simply pay a per MB rate. Another plus to each SIM card having its own plan is in global deployments where there are some countries where the rates are dramatically higher than other countries. Having the flexibility to assign each SIM a separate plan means you are able to get the best price for the SIMs in countries with low rates and not be “forced” into paying a higher tariff based on the more expensive countries where SIMs are needed. 

PAYG plans are typically used in low data consumption projects like Asset Tracking, where the device may only report a GPS location every few hours, or not at all if they aren’t deployed, or in the middle of the ocean. There could be other SIMs on these types of accounts that are reporting more often and maybe reporting more information like temperature, humidity, etc. which drive up data consumption. These IoT SIM cards will need other plans to take into account the different data usage.

Another solution type that may benefit from PAYG data plans is Vehicle Tracking/Telematics. The reason why this type of solution benefits from PAYG plans is there are sometimes vast differences in the amount of data needed between devices, depending on the use of the vehicles being tracked and the type of data being collected from the vehicles. We say “may benefit” because there are a lot of cases where the data is fairly static and PAYG may not be the right plan type.

The cons of a PAYG plan are that the plans tend to be more “cookie-cutter” like 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, etc. MB plans and the plans tend to be more expensive than Pooled data plans, especially on the lower data consumption plans; the effective per MB cost is higher than Pooled plans of similar sizes. PAYG plans also usually have “monthly minimum revenue requirements” where all active IoT SIMs have to reach a certain amount of use to meet these minimums.

Pooled data plans are best for those deployments were all of the SIM cards tend to consume the same amount of data. There are 2 ways that telecom companies structure Pooled data plans. One model, we call it the “Data Bucket” model, is where you buy a “bucket of data” and then you are allowed to add a fixed number of SIMs to use this bucket of data. An example of this might be where you are given choices of 1GB, 5GB, 10GB and 25GB of data. For the 1GB plan you might be able to add up to 250 SIMs, for the 5GB plan you can add up to 1000 SIMs, etc. The other model, we call this “True Pooled data” is where each active SIM card contributes a certain amount of data into to the overall pool, and the amount of pooled data grows as you activate SIMs. 

The latter, True Pooled data, model is far and away the best and most flexible Pooled data model. The Data Bucket model pigeon-holes you into a set amount of data which the telecom thinks makes the most sense, and limiting the number of SIMs that can pool this bucket of data. The other drawback into the Data Bucket model is what if you don’t need 250 SIMs, then you will be charged more for service you don’t need. The True Pooled data model allows you to create any size plan you want. We have customers whose need is not 5MB or 10MB or 20MB per SIM, but their true average is 17MB, or 7MB, or 12MB per SIM and the True Pool data plan can handle any size plan you need; this is the most flexible in terms of data quantities.

We see Pool plans used in almost every type of solution because most projects tend to be singularly focused and all of the IoT SIM cards consume relatively equal amounts of data. One of the fastest growing categories we see these plans being used in is AgTech. While there are many solutions for Agriculture, each solution tends to have predictable data consumption rates. A good example of this is soil moisture meters. These instruments measure the amount of moisture in the soil at predetermined intervals and run 24/7 so the amount of data consumed by each instrument is fairly static. This is true if the IoT SIM card is in the device in the ground or in a gateway which aggregates data from many instruments. Other very common uses of the True Pool data plan are:

  • Alarms/Security
  • Internet Failover
  • Remote Video Broadcast
  • GPS Tracking
  • Connected Car
  • Smart Meter
  • Smart City
  • Many, many more

True Pooled data plans are not only flexible in terms of the amount of data but these plans are fully customized by the countries included in the data pool. Unlike the Data Bucket data plan model or the PAYG model, True Pooled data plans include as many or as few countries to meet your particular requirements. This customization is a fantastic way to keep the cost of the plan as low as possible because the roaming cost varies in each country. To eliminate more expensive countries which aren’t needed and keep only those countries that are needed, the chances are that the cost can be lower.

So, what are the cons of the True Pooled data plans and Data Bucket plans? These plans lack the flexibility of having your IoT SIM cards use different plans. All of the SIM cards in a pooled plan must be on the same plan, in with the same cost, and with the same list of included countries. Even with these limitations, we see over 90% of our new clients gravitating to our True Pooled data plans. 

If you have any further questions about the differences between PAYG and Pooled data plans, or if you are looking for a connectivity solution, we would love to hear from you. Because we offer both types of plans, we have valuable insight into each type of plan and can address any need you may have because of this flexibility. One of our IoT experts will be in touch with you if fill out our Contact Form. You can also email our team at sales@onesimcard.com.

A Comparison of OneSimCard to Domestic US Carriers (AT&T and Verizon) for IoT SIM Card Pooled Data Connectivity

 

We wanted to look at our service and see how it stacks up to some of our competition – Domestic USA IoT cellular carriers AT&T and Verizon.* We chose these two networks because they have the largest footprint and overall highest ratings for their network connectivity. For the purpose of this example, we are going to assume 500 IoT SIM cards, each with a 50MB pooled/shared monthly plan.

AT&T offers a variety of SIM cards and connectivity options that range from Domestic USA to North America and International options. They also break their services down by NB-IoT/CAT M and full LTE depending on the speed you need and overall performance (e.g., battery life) you need. AT&T offers a “Steered” data SIM where they force all of the data to be transmitted over their network, so long as there is even a slight signal; they do not want to allow you to roam on another network if at all possible. They also have limitations on the amount of SIM cards that can be on an account/pool – 500. 

Verizon has a more streamlined set of plans because for their IoT SIM card plans they are only offering NB-IoT or Cat M/M-1 plans. These are also Steered plans, and there does not seem to be a limit of SIMs that you can put onto an account, but the speeds are limited to just NB-IoT and Cat M/M-1 making data heavy solutions very difficult.

Here in the USA, OneSimCard offers a single Multi-Network, Multi-IMSI IoT Sim Card which operates on AT&T, & Verizon, as well as T-Mobile. We also operate in over 160 countries and over 400 other networks around the world on that same single SIM card. We do not ever “Steer” your traffic like the domestic, “native” SIMs . So that is 3 concurrent networks on each IoT SIM card. OneSimCard IoT also operates in over 160 countries and over 400 other networks around the world. We allow your device to make the decision as to which network to attach…always allowing the best signal and offering tremendous redundancy built-in. 

Our IoT SIM card solution operates on 2G/3G/4G (Full LTE and Cat M/M-1) so if you have a solution that requires faster speeds, we can accommodate this need with the same SIM card that also operates on the slower Cat M/M-1 protocols. We also offer a flexible, fully customized offering for data plan sizes. From 0.5MB to 1000TB and beyond, we can create ANY size plan to fit your needs, instead of forcing you into a plan we dictate. 

Here is a table of these comparisons, including monthly shared data plan costs:

OneSimCard IoT Verizon ATT
No Steering SIM
Single SIM – all 3 Major USA Networks
2G/3G/4G Full LTE & Cat M/M-1 on Single SIM
Flexible/Custom Plan Sizes
Number of Included Countries 76 1 1
50MB Plan/SIM Monthly $5.50 $15.00 $12.00
Cost for 500 SIMs  Monthly $2,750.00 (no additional fees $7,500.00 (+fees) $6,000.00 (+fees)

This chart demonstrates how the OneSimCard has many features that the domestic carriers do not have and you can save over 60% while still using their networks + T-Mobile! What’s more, the cost in the chart provides access in 76 countries for our International IoT SIM Card, but the listed AT&T and Verizon’s data plans only include the USA – if you want international, you will pay even more. OneSimCard is also the best choice if you are looking for a true partner willing to be flexible with plans, and tailoring the solution based on your individual needs. We have in-depth conversations and needs-analysis meeting with all of our clients and develop each solution to each of our clients instead of trying to fit your project into rigid, “cookie-cutter” data plans.

Speaking of solutions, OneSimCard IoT works with many different IoT verticals, including:

  • Fleet Management
  • Connected Vehicle
  • Asset Tracking
  • Digital Signage
  • Wearables
  • Ag-Tech
  • Telemedicine
  • Smart Cities
  • Custom Projects

OneSimCard IoT SIM cards are managed on our proprietary OSCAR platform. Our Cloud-based Platform is available from any browser and on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. This allows you to manage your entire global deployment of SIM cards from virtually anywhere!

If you would like to compare our IoT SIM cards to your current provider, please get in touch with us. We will be glad to discuss your particular needs and develop a testing protocol for your organization.

*Comparison based on published plans as of 8/18/2021

“Disposable” IoT SIM Cards Now Available for Data Pooling

There are some circumstances when IoT/M2M devices are only needed for a short period of time and then they need to be shut off and discarded. We come across this need most often in the Asset Tracking sector, especially for Cargo containers. There has always been the opportunity to have these disposable SIMs on PAYG accounts, but now we developed a disposable SIM plan for Pooled accounts.

As you know, our Pooled data plans are highly customized for each client. The disposable SIMs are no different. If you need the IoT SIM active for 5 days or 55 days, or 555 days, we can accommodate… just let us know your requirement and we will set the SIM to automatically expire in that timeframe. What’s more, if you need to have some SIMs that have a longer duration and some with a shorter duration, on the same data pool, you can set up the duration in the OSCAR Portal for each SIM.

If you have a project that requires disposable IoT SIM cards, let’s talk about it and let our IoT experts come up with the perfect solution for you.

When to expect 3G Network Sunsets (Shutdowns) and Why?

3G Network Sunsets
A cell tower carrying antennas

Radio frequencies can be thought of as Real Estate in the world of mobile communications. Like Real Estate there is only so many radio frequencies available. This finite resource can, therefore be either very expensive to buy new licenses or impossible because there are no licenses available for “new” frequencies (aka Bands). 

As Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) introduce new technology, or generations of data transmission methods, the MNO’s have to find a band they license to utilize for that new technology like 5G. Data transmission technology is always evolving, and since there are finite resources there is a need to “re-farm” the bands on which they hold licenses to operate these newer technologies. This is the fundamental reason why old technology like 3G are being shutdown (or “sunsetted”).

In the next few years, we expect there will be many MNO’s  sunsetting 3G. Here is a list of some MNO’s and the probable date of their 3G sunset:

Country Network Probable 3G Sunset
Australia Telstra Corporation Limited June 2024
Canada Rogers Communications Canada Inc. 2025
China China Mobile 2020
Denmark Telia 2023
Denmark TT-Netværket P/S starts April 2021
Finland TeliaSonera Finland Oyj 2023
Germany Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. oHG 2022
Germany Vodafone D2 GmbH June 2021
Greece Vodafone Greece 2022
India Airtel 2020
Indonesia PT Indonesian Satellite Corporation Tbk (INDOSAT) 2020
Indonesia Telkomsel Indonesia 2020
Iraq Telecom Ltd 2020
Italy Vodafone Italia S.p.A. January 2021
Japan NTT DoCoMo, Inc. March 2026
Lithuania Telia Lietuva 2022
Malaysia DiGi Telecommunications 2021
Malaysia Maxis Communications Berhad 2021
Myanmar Telenor Myanmar 2025 – 2027
Netherlands KPN Mobile The Netherlands B.V. January 2022
Netherlands Vodafone Libertel B.V. 2020
Norway TeliaSonera Norge AS 2020
San Marino Vodafone Italia S.p.A. 2021
Saudi Arabia Saudi Telecom Company 2022
Spain Telefónica Móviles España 2025
Sweden TeliaSonera Sverige AB 2025
Taiwan Taiwan Mobile Co. Ltd 2019
United States AT&T February 2022
United States T-Mobile April 2022
United States Verizon Wireless Announced 2020 – Pushed
Vatican City Vodafone Italia S.p.A. 2021

If you are operating IoT devices on these networks, you will need to address the situation and upgrade your devices before the network closes.

We have helped many clients with this transition and we would be happy to have a conversation with you to explore your options. For example, if you are operating a fleet tracking solution on 3G telematics devices in the USA and you need to move to 4G we currently provide service on all 3 major US networks (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon) on a single SIM card with a single APN. Of course, we offer many other countries on that same single SIM and single APN.

Contact one of our experts by email at sales@onesimcard.com to see if you qualify for free SIM cards as you transition.

OneSimCard’s IoT Service in the USA Now Combines all 3 Major Carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile to Provide the Best Overall Coverage

OneSimCard IoT SIM USA Coverage
Combining AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile on a Single SIM Ensures the Greatest Coverage & Unsurpassed Redundancy in the USA

OneSimCard IoT, a Global leader in IoT connectivity, is excited to announce the launch of a new SIM card connectivity solution for the United States market which combines all three major carriers in the USA: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile for data and SMS access on a single SIM card solution. This solution gives customers, who have connectivity requirements in the USA, full redundancy on the country’s 3 largest networks.

Having this access on a single SIM is critical because there is no need for a dual SIM device or guessing which SIM is best for a particular area. OneSimCard IoT also doesn’t “steer” traffic to a particular network. When the no steering SIM card is inserted and activated, the customer’s device is allowed to determine the best network to use at that time and location. Because this single SIM card solution includes AT&T, Verizon, & T-Mobile, the coverage options are tremendously expanded. 

This OneSimCard IoT SIM card connectivity solution also offers data and SMS service in over 160 countries worldwide with many countries offering redundant networks. This global SIM operates on a single APN and on OneSimCard IoT’s powerful OSCAR SIM Management platform, making multi-country deployments simple.

OneSimCard OSCAR Prepaid Account Overview Video Now Available

OneSimCard IoT Connectivity pricing plans fall into 2 general categories: Pay-as-you-go (Prepaid) & Pooled with offer rates as low as $0.01/MB in both categories.

Prepaid accounts are perfect for those who are uncertain of their data consumption needs, or where individual IoT devices consume a vastly different amount of data per month.

With prepaid accounts, each SIM is funded from an existing balance on the account. The SIM billing can be set-up in 2 ways: Pay-As-You-Go per MB or with a discount plan starting at 5MB per SIM. Each SIM can have a different plan giving you a tremendous amount of flexibility in your deployment.

In this video:

Dashboard 00:00​
SIM Cards Settings 1:33
SIM Card Alarms 5:10​
SIM Card Activation Templates 5:39​
Billing 6:07​
Reports 7:14 ​
VPN 7:40
Admins 8:10​
Profile 8:32
Rates 8:41
Help / Support 8:52

Learn more about Global IoT SIM Card connectivity solutions including Pooled and Pay-As-You-Go account, APN, VPN, Static IP’s and IMEI Lock at iot.onesimcard.com

Learn more about OneSimCard OSCAR IoT SIM Platform here.

OneSimCard OSCAR Pooled Account Overview Video Now Available

OneSimCard IoT Connectivity pricing plans fall into 2 general categories: Pay-as-you-go (Prepaid) & Pooled with offer rates as low as $0.01/MB in both categories.

IoT connectivity clients choose Pooled accounts when they have a general idea about their data usage and their IoT devices require a similar amount of cellular data traffic. Data in this category of plans pools across all active devices on the account.

Each active SIM contributes an equal amount of data into the pool. Plan sizes can range from 50KB to 50TB per SIM– simply tell us what you need, and we will design a custom plan for your particular project.

In this video:

Dashboard 00:00
SIM Cards Settings 1:03
SIM Card Alarms 3:23
SIM Card Activation Templates 3:38
Billing 4:04
Reports 4:38
VPN 5:05
Admins 5:35
Profile 6:04
Rates 6:10
Help / Support 6:37

Learn more about Global IoT SIM Card connectivity solutions including Pooled and Pay-As-You-Go account, APN, VPN, Static IP’s and IMEI Lock at iot.onesimcard.com

Learn more about OneSimCard OSCAR IoT SIM Platform here.

 

OSCAR App now available on iOS!

1SIM IoT App

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the OneSimCard IoT App for iOS devices!

The IoT App allows you to have access to most of the OSCAR functions right from your iOS device. The App is currently available at no cost in the App Store. Download it today and take OSCAR with you anywhere! The Android OSCAR App is also available and can be downloaded from the Google Play here.

To learn more about 1SIM IoT app for IoT and M2M card management, visit the 1SIM IoT page.

Lean more about the OSCAR IoT SIM Card Management platform here.

Set a Future Date for Blocking & Deactivating (Removing) an IoT SIM Card

Schedule SIM Card Deactivation or Removal

Often times, you might have a device where there is a date in the future when you want the SIM to be Blocked or Deactivated/Removed from the account, and managing these dates can be a huge challenge. To address this need, we have added functionality in the OSCAR Platform to set a date for these functions.

Possible use cases include:

    • You have an end customer with one of your devices who pays on a “subscription” basis, e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. and you want the device to only work while their account is in good standing;
    • You have a device that is meant for a project for a set time period and you want to shut it off automatically at the end of the project timeframe;

You can find this feature in the SIM Settings tab of OSCAR (SIM CARDS>Settings of the SIM), or in the batch operation menu at the bottom of the SIM card page. This function is available in both PAYG and Pooled account types. We are also expecting to add this function to our API list as well. Look for this in the coming months.

Lean more about the OSCAR IoT SIM Card Management platform here.

Using Templates to Activate or Update Existing SIM Card Settings

IoT SIM Settings Template
Use Default or Create Your Own IoT SIM Settings Templates

We were asked by a number of customers to allow the use of pre-configured templates when activating SIM cards because some of the settings are the same based on a particular use case. The use case may differ across all of your SIM cards, though, and it would be useful to select a previously created template to activate a new SIM card which will update all of the appropriate settings on the SIM including

For PAYG Accounts:

  • Enable Auto-recharge with pre-defined amounts, limits, and SIM minimum balance
  • Set Device Model Type
  • Set User Name (many clients use this for their customer name, or device location, or IMEI of the device, etc.…think of this as a “nickname” for the SIM card)
  • Set an initial balance on the SIM Card
  • Assign a Discount Data Plan on the SIM card
  • Assign Static IP address (of enabled on your account
  • Set notification if the balance of the SIM card goes below a certain amount

For Pooled Accounts:

  • Set Device Model Type
  • Set a monthly Data Limit
  • Set End User Name
  • Assign Static IP address

You can save as many templates as you need so ensure you can activate a SIM with all of the appropriate settings for that SIM with a single click. You can also choose as many of the available fields as you wish; use them all or use only one…it’s completely in your hands!

What’s more, you can use this feature to update existing SIMs on your account. Once you have at least one template saved on your account, simply

  1. Select the SIM cards you want to update;
  2. Choose the “Apply SIM Activation Template” option from the batch operation menu at the bottom of the SIM Card page;
  3. Choose the template you want to use!