Last Updated: May, 2023
What exactly is an M2M SIM card? What is the difference between a normal SIM card to an M2M SIM card and why should I use those? These are a few of the most basic questions when it comes to the topic of M2M SIM cards and in this blog post, we want to provide you with the most important answers.
1. What is an M2M SIM Card?
To understand what M2M SIM cards are in the first place, it is necessary to explain the term M2M. This is in fact the abbreviation for the term machine-to-machine communication. Knowing this now, it is easy to understand that M2M SIM cards are for those very products that transmit information from one machine to another. To make it easier to understand, you can also imagine that through these SIM cards the devices have the ability to talk to each other.
But which devices exactly are meant by this?
Whether we know it or not, in our daily lives, we often encounter products powered by M2M SIM cards – e.g., wearables, smart home devices, sensors, industrial and medical devices. Those products need to communicate with each other or, very commonly, cloud-based applications in order to be fully functional.
2. What is the difference between M2M SIM cards and traditional ones?
As outlined above, M2M SIM cards are designed to communicate between devices and towards northbound applications of two machines. Hence, the main use cases for M2M SIM cards are in the automotive, industrial, logistics & telematics, and medical sectors. In contrast, traditional SIM Cards are mainly used in consumer devices, such as smartphones or tablets. But this is not the only difference between those two types of SIM cards. On the other hand, they also differ in the following points:
Unlike normal SIM cards, M2M SIM cards are often used in remote areas where harsh conditions prevail. Since the normal SIM cards used for consumer devices are not made for such conditions, M2M SIM cards are designed to withstand more. Moreover, M2M SIM cards can last up to a decade.
- Higher storage capacity
Another difference between M2M SIM cards from normal ones is that they have a higher memory capacity. It is often the case that IoT devices are placed in remote locations and a lot of data is sent there, which cannot be deleted regularly.
- Global Scalability and Roaming Capability
As in many IoT and M2M use-cases, mobility of the devices and cross-border communication is a key requirement; the M2M SIM cards are usually assigned to tariffs with harmonized regional cost structures. M2M SIM cards and IoT cellular connectivity are the only ways to successfully power an international and even global-scale network, especially with M2M eSIMs. We can enable devices to send and receive data from any place with cellular coverage using an M2M SIM card (which is virtually everywhere in the world).
As a result, in the core network of mobile network providers, traffic from M2M connections is most commonly isolated from the rest of the data traffic. Usually, private access points, or APNs, are used to achieve this.
- Management platform
Another critical difference is that M2M SIM cards are usually being managed via a platform. This allows you to manage the many SIM cards and your end devices in one portal. Learn more about freeeway’s CMP (Connectivity Management Platform)
In contrast to regular SIM cards, special data tariffs are offered for M2M SIM cards. In addition, the standard approach of data pooling allows one device’s unused data volume to be passed on to other devices. As a result, the tariff bundles are usually better utilized.
3. Benefits of the freeeway M2M SIM
Our IoT Network Partners
From a single country, up to global network coverage freeway, co-operates with leading Mobile Network Providers to give you access to more than 680 networks worldwide. Take a look at our current Partners but stay tuned – we continuously broaden our partnerships!
KPN is a Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Freeeway offers access to 461 networks and provides services for 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, LTE and LTE CatM1.
A1 Telekom Austria is the leading communication provider in Austria based in Vienna. Through the provider network, Freeeway connects to 406 networks for 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, LTE and NB-IoT.
Magenta is an Austrian-based telecommunications provider and a fully subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (Germany). The partnership enables Freeeway to offer 524 networks for 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and LTE-M, LTE CatM1, NB IoT.
Vodafone is a global leader in technology communications based in Newbury, UK. As an official Vodafone partner, Freeeway offers access to 680 networks for 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, LTE-M, LTE CatM1 and NB-IoT.
Arquia Datora is our first network partner in South America, based in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Through this partnership, freeeway is able to offer 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE in Brazil through TIM and VIVO networks.
Telna provides Freeeway with a managed global network infrastructure for cellular connectivity. Its multi-network platform enables simplified billing and localization, utilizing 6+ telco pops globally.
TELUS is a dynamic, world-leading communications and information technology company with 15.2 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security, healthcare, and agriculture.
floLIVE offers advanced 5G network solutions, both privately and over the cloud, and a full suite of global cellular connectivity services for IoT use cases. floLIVE operates floNET – a one-of-a-kind Global Connectivity Service designed and built, especially for IoT. With floNET, enterprises can enjoy seamless global connectivity for their connected devices.
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M2M & IoT SIM cards?
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Our IoT SIM Tariff & Pooling Options
At freeeway, we offer two pricing and two pooling options to provide you with the product that is right for you.
At the end of the billing cycle (usually aligned with the calendar month), the consumed data volume and SMS are charged. In addition, the invoice highlights the different data bundles, SMS and M2M voice consumption, and out-of-plan fees.
Optionally you can select a prepaid model that provides a per price-plan level, an MB data bundle, and a validity period, e.g., 500MB for 24 months.
- Static Pool
Where a certain number of data, i.e. 500GB, is provided monthly. An infinite number of SIM cards can be assigned to the static pool and consume from there. After the pool is consumed, you have the option that another pool of the same size is opened or that a second smaller pool, i.e., 50GB is added for this billing cycle. In the following billing cycle, the system will start again with a static 500GB pool.
- Flex Pool
A Flex pool allows you to use the data allowance of multiple SIM cards within a price plan. With every additional activated SIM card, the overall pool for you increases. The price plan consists of a data allowance per SIM and an over-usage rate per zone. In case that the data allowance is used up, the SIM card is NOT deactivated.
Price plans can be changed at any time during the month. The price plan set on the last day of the billing cycle (month) will be charged.
The technical details of our IoT SIM cards
We provide you with all possible M2M SIM card formats:
- Form Factors
All SIM form factors are available: 2FF (Macro), 3FF (Micro) & 4FF (Nano) as well as MFF2 (SIM Chipsets)
Two visual SIM card options. Customized with your company branding if needed or plain white.
- Industry Grade
Special industrial-grade SIM cards with more read/write cycles as well as higher/lower temperature ranges (-40 up to 85 or 105 degrees celsius).
MFF2 format for industrial assembly. MFF2 SIM cards are SMD (=Surface Mount Devices) units. Hence, the SIM is like any other active or passive electronic component that will be added during the manufacturing process. MFF2 SIM cards are usually more durable than normal plastic cards and have their main applications in appliances that work in harsh conditions.
➡️ Read more about IoT eSIMs and MFF2 SIMs here
- Customized Solutions
We offer special solutions for aviation, automotive, and your use case. Ask how we can help you!
That is all!
We hope that we could give you a good overview of M2M SIM cards. Feel free to contact us to get your free test SIM cards!