IoT – or M2M – SIM cards provide access to cellular networks to connect devices – with a management platform to monitor and operate device connections at scale. If you want two or more ‘Things’ (connected devices) to communicate with each other, then you need a data connection. In most cases, a standard cellular mobile SIM (or consumer SIM) won’t cut it.
Consumer SIMs are bound to one local network operator and impose high roaming costs for data connections in foreign countries or outside a common tariff zone. IoT SIMs meanwhile give your devices access to multiple networks per country, a single tariff plan for global use, and flexible, usage-based contract terms. IoT SIMs also have more memory, durability and a longer lifespan than consumer SIMs.
IoT SIMs usually come with a web-based platform for remote SIM and connectivity management. They come in multiple form factors like the industrial-grade or MFF2 for durability against extreme environments – heat, corrosion, vibration. Check out our detailed article on the differences between a consumer SIM and an IoT M2M SIM.
The price can start from less than EUR 2 for a commercial-grade emnify IoT SIM and less than EUR 3 for an industrial-grade emnify IoT SIM depending on your order volume. A discount automatically applies as more SIM cards are purchased within an order.
New users can get three emnify IoT SIM cards for free when signing up for an evaluation. Try it out for yourself, at no cost, for a 60-day trial.
Activating an IoT SIM card is straightforward and usually only involves a few simple steps. Often there is more than one way to activate a SIM – for example, either through a connectivity management portal, API or sometimes even a no-code solution.
IoT SIM cards can be registered and activated individually or in bulk – significantly speeding things up when connecting a large fleet of devices.
You also have an option to enable factory test mode where your devices are pre-activated and allocated with a fixed amount of free data traffic. During factory test mode, there is no SIM hosting fees and data charges, allowing you to test device connections during QA processes and ship preactivated devices to customers without incurring connectivity costs.
Once your devices use up the free data after being deployed, the emnify SIM cards automatically switch to “active”, and only then your monthly billing starts. There is no need to activate your SIM cards when using factory test mode.
A connectivity management portal will typically provide access to real-time monitoring of all connected devices, tracking things like connection status, data usage and cost.
The emnify Portal also provides tools like connectivity reset and network blocklist that let you quickly troubleshoot connection issues and reduce Tier-II support tickets.
If you prefer monitoring device connectivity and data consumption directly from your existing operational dashboards and application, the emnify Data Streamer lets you do so. Learn more about Data Streamer or view our Integration guides for detailed instructions.
An eSIM is a SIM card that can be updated over the Air remotely. However, this sometimes leads to some confusion because the term eSIM is also often used in reference to a specific embeddable form factor: MFF2.