Skip to main content

How to Choose the Right SIM Card for IoT Purposes? (9 Considerations)

IoT SIM Cards
Share This Article

When it comes to SIM cards for IoT (Internet of Things) devices, there are a few key factors to keep in mind in order to choose the right one for your needs.

In this post, we’ll look at nine reasons why it’s vital to choose the right SIM card provider for your IoT needs, and what you need to consider about each provider’s service. Let’s get into it:


  • What does your IoT provider affect?
  • IoT providers vs. mainstream cellular carriers
  • What to look for in an IoT SIM card provider
  • Advantages of an IoT SIM Card
  • How much does an IoT SIM Card cost?
  • Connect to your IoT needs with Caburn Telecom

What is an IoT SIM Card?

IoT SIM cards are SIM cards that are specifically designed for devices that are connected to the Internet of Things.

These SIM cards have a number of features that make them well-suited for devices that need to be able to connect across a larger geographical range.

IoT SIM cards work similarly to how a traditional SIM would work but are often designed to work without much human oversight.

Learn more: A guide to IoT Connectivity, IoT SIM Cards & Multi-network Systems

stay connected with caburn

What does your IoT provider affect?

In this digital age, making the right choice with your IoT provider is essential.

After all, your provider will determine the type of SIM card you need, as well as the data plan that you’ll be using.

And since your SIM card will be one of the key components in keeping your device connected, it’s important to choose a provider that can give you the best possible service.

Some things to consider when choosing an IoT SIM card provider include:

  • Where you can deploy your devices
  • Security of your data transmissions
  • Connectivity costs
  • Cellular networks you have access too
  • What you can do with your connectivity data
  • SIM form factors available
  • How much data your devices will use
  • What type of data your devices will use
  • Your budgetary constraints
  • And even more!

IoT Providers vs. Mainstream Cellular Carriers

You may be asking, ‘What is the difference between an IoT provider and a traditional cellular carrier?’

A Mobile Network Operator (MNO), also known as a cellular company, has ownership of its own cellular network and will sell access to its radio and network infrastructure.

Unlike an MNO, an IoT Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) does not necessarily own a radio network.

This means that IoT MVNOs must come to a commercial agreement with MVOs for their SIM cards to roam onto and use their networks.

MVNOs, like Caburn Telecom, are popular for the flexibility, support and control offered with their services.

Difference Between Traditional SIM Cards and eSIMs for IoT

Traditional SIM cards and eSIMs serve the foundational purpose of connecting devices to mobile networks, yet there are significant differences in form and functionality.

Physical SIM cards, a familiar staple in mobile communications, require manual insertion into a device.

In contrast, eSIMs (Embedded SIMs) are soldered directly onto the device’s motherboard during manufacture, eliminating the need for physical handling.

This distinction is crucial for IoT operations, where devices often operate in environments that make regular SIM swaps impractical or impossible.

For IoT deployments, the adaptability of eSIMs offers a considerable advantage. They can be remotely managed, allowing for the seamless switching of profiles and network providers without physical access to the device.

This capability is invaluable for managing large fleets of IoT devices spread across diverse geographical locations, ensuring constant connectivity and the flexibility to adapt to changing network requirements or to optimize operational costs.

Physical SIMs, while somewhat less flexible in the context of IoT, still hold their ground, particularly in scenarios where devices remain within a single network’s coverage or in less dynamic operational contexts. Their simplicity and the widespread familiarity with their use make them a viable option for certain IoT applications.

In choosing an IoT SIM card provider, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your IoT deployment, weighing the benefits of flexibility and remote manageability offered by eSIMs against the straightforward, tried-and-tested nature of traditional SIM cards.

What to Look For in an IoT SIM Card Provider

When choosing an IoT SIM card provider, there are several factors you need to consider in order to ensure you’re making the best decision for your project.

The following factors can have an enormous effect on the performance of your products and your business operations.

1) Maximum Connectivity and Coverage

One of the most important things to look for in an IoT SIM card provider is maximum connectivity and coverage through their commercial agreements.

IoT devices need to be constantly connected in order to function properly, so it’s essential that your SIM card provider can offer you a reliable connection.

The last thing you want is for your devices to suddenly lose connection in the middle of an important operation.

To ensure maximum connectivity and coverage, look for a SIM card provider that offers extensive network coverage and has a good reputation for reliability.

2) Scalability

Another important factor to consider is scalability.

As your IoT project grows, you’ll need to be able to increase your data usage without incurring prohibitive costs.

To do this, you’ll need a SIM card provider that can offer you a flexible and scalable data plan.

Look for a provider that offers pay-as-you-go plans or the ability to upgrade your plan as your needs change.

3) Focus on IoT

When choosing an IoT SIM card provider, it’s important to select a company that specialises in providing SIM cards for IoT devices.

IoT providers have a deep understanding of the specific needs of IoT devices and can offer SIM cards with features that are well-suited for these types of devices.

4)  Security

Although by design, cellular connectivity is secure, security in IoT always remains at the forefront.

For the most security-critical applications, using End to End device encryption, ensures messages and data files are encrypted before they leave the device and aren’t decrypted until they reach their intended destination.

For extra security, VPN systems can be provided which ensure data is tunnelled to its intended source in key areas of network transmission.

This extra security measure ensures that data transmitted via IoT networks remains secure.

5) Network Redundancy

Network redundancy is another incredibly important security consideration in IoT.

This allows devices to automatically connect to a backup system if the primary, core-network goes down, ensuring maximum uptime.

Having as much network redundancy as possible means that your networks are far more reliable.

6) Data Plans

Of course, one of the most important things to consider when choosing an IoT SIM card provider is the data plans they offer.

Although many individual IoT devices don’t use a lot of data, it’s important to find a SIM card provider that offers flexible and affordable data plans due to their volume and scale.

7) SIM Card Form Factor

SIM cards come in a variety of different form factors, with the most common SIM card form factor being the Nano SIM, which is used in smartphones.

However, for IoT devices, you may need a SIM card with a different form factor such as the micro SIM or the mini-SIM.

The form factor determines how the SIM card needs to be installed in your device, how durable they are and how much space they take up.

When choosing an IoT SIM card provider, make sure to select a company that offers SIM cards in the form factor you need.

Five different form factors are:

  • 1FF (full size): About the size of a credit card, 1FF is the largest SIM card form factor and is very rarely used in modern devices. Most suppliers no longer supply full-size SIMs for IoT devices.
  • 2FF (mini-SIM): An industry standard SIM card size (25mm x 15mm x 0.76mm), used in vehicles, payment points and vending machines.
  • 3FF (micro-SIM): Half the size of the 2FF, micro-SIMs are commonly used in portable devices, such as GPS, tablets, smart health and other mobile IoT devices.
  • 4FF (nano-SIM): 40% smaller than the micro-SIM, nano-SIMs are ideal for small IoT devices.
  • MFF2 (embedded SIM): Known as eSIMs, embedded SIMs are the most popular option for IoT devices.  MFF2 SIM cards are soldered onto IoT devices during the manufacturing process and cannot be removed or replaced. Despite only measuring 6mm x 5mm x 1mm, embedded SIMs are one of the most durable IoT SIM options.

8) Is There a Remote Management Function?

You’ll want to consider whether or not the SIM card provider offers a remote management function.

With a remote management function, you’ll be able to remotely manage your SIM cards and devices from a single platform.

This can be very helpful if you have a large number of IoT devices deployed in different locations.

A single platform to manage M2M SIM cards and devices is extremely helpful if you have a large number of IoT devices deployed in different locations that need different comm plans.

9) Personal and Expert Service in M2M

You should also consider the personal and expert service that the SIM card provider offers in Machine to Machine (M2M) communications.

Make sure to choose a SIM card provider that has experience with IoT devices and can offer you the support you need to get your devices up and running.

The SIM card provider should also be able to offer you a dedicated account manager who can help you with any questions or issues you have.

IoT helps keep you connected

Advantages of an IoT SIM Card

Now you know what to look out for with an IoT SIM card, let’s take a look at some of the key advantages of using an IoT SIM card.

Some of the key benefits of an IoT SIM include:

1) Keep your IoT devices connected

2) Cost-effective way to connect your devices

3) No need to worry about coverage areas

4) Ease of use and installation

5) Scalability

6) Security

7) Reliable on a global network

How Much Does an IoT SIM Card Cost?

The cost of an IoT SIM card in the UK will vary depending on the provider you choose and the features you need.

There are many factors to consider when determining the pricing of IoT SIMs, such as region and network provider.

At Caburn Telecom, we take a customer-first approach, evaluating each customer’s requirements so we can create a cost-effective plan to suit their needs.

To learn more about the cost of IoT SIM cards, contact us today.

Connect to Your IoT Needs with Caburn Telecom

Thank you for reading our guide on how to choose the right SIM card for IoT purposes.

We hope you learned something new.

At Caburn Telecom, we’re industry leaders in everything IoT and M2M from IoT SIM cards to Maritime IoT.

Our SIMs are used across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, farming and agriculture, and advertising.

To learn more about our resilient connectivity plans, SIM, and IoT services, please contact a member of our team and we will get back to you on a no-obligation basis.