Multi-Carrier SIMs Explained

Multi-carrier SIM cards are crucial for IoT and M2M environments that stretch across various regions and countries. They can connect a device through many different network providers beyond the one that issues the SIM. There are steered and non-steered SIMs. In terms of cost-efficiency, non-steered SIM cards are usually the better choice, especially when larger data sets need to be transmitted.

What is a multi-network roaming SIM?

There are two distinct types of multi-carrier data-enabled SIMs, steered and non-steered. Both can connect your device to many different network providers across different regions, but there is a crucial difference.

Steered SIMs have a main network, which they will utilize by default whenever this particular network is within reach. So even if there is a better, faster connection through a different network provider, it will still stay with its primary network. It will only switch to a secondary network, once the default option is not available any longer.

Non-steered solutions are usually the better choice, especially when they are going to be used by M2M- or IoT-enabled devices. Non-steered roaming SIMs have the freedom and will prioritize the network with the strongest, most stable connection. As they are not constrained to a specific network, users (i.e., IoT or M2M network operators) find that M2M and IoT devices perform much better if they are equipped with a non-steered roaming SIM card.

What is the benefit of multi-carrier roaming SIMs?

Whether it’s a private phone user or a big corporation looking to deploy large-scale IoT infrastructure, they will probably ask themselves: “Why would I ever need to roam through different networks.” Obviously, the benefits of these multi-carrier capabilities depend on the individual situation.

Reliable mobile connectivity and GPS tracking

GPS tracking is an essential feature of most mobile IoT and M2M devices out there. To track the location of devices, constant 24/7 connectivity is mandatory. Multi-network roaming SIM cards allow devices to stay connected while on the move. This is particularly important for IoT or M2M devices that track the location of shipping parcels or delivery fleets. IoT-enabled devices typically transmit very sensitive data. Losing contact with IoT devices, that are not able to roam networks freely not only equates to a loss of valuable datasets but can also delay operations, as it may be difficult to recover IoT devices that are not on the network anymore. Depending on the tariff and provider, companies can ensure reliable connectivity almost anywhere in the world.

  • Multi-network/Multi-carrier SIM cards enable IoT and M2M devices to maintain a reliable connection across various regions.
  • This is particularly important for remotely located devices that frequently change location.
  • If these devices lost connection, they likely would not be able to inform network operators about their location. As such, tracking them down may be a cost-intensive task, especially at a larger scale.
  • Non-steered SIMs allow the device to connect to the cheapest, most stable network provider, making it the ideal choice for cost-effective, international data transmission.