Stumbling block IoT

Stumbling block IoT

Picking the right telecom company can be a task. Here we will give you the general steps you need to take before picking the right one for you.

To start off when picking a provider, you need to determine where you want the SIM to work and where you focus is. If you just want to focus on Europe, then you need to make sure you have a contract with a European provider that can offer better rates and has mutual agreements with the providers in the EU.

Once you have determined where you want the SIM to work and the providers you would like to work with, it’s time to then determine the following criteria.

The first thing that you need to look at is the coverage. Does the SIM in this case cover all the locations you want to service, and does it offer multiple providers per country? In many cases, providers will offer you a cheap rate, but only have one provider available. This is attractive to you as a business looking at the price point, but this could affect the quality of service. Having a contract with minimal two providers per country would be ideal. In this way you can offer redundancy to your service.

Providers will also give you more countries than just Europe within their footprint. But at a higher cost. Important in this case is to ensure that all traffic outside the countries you want to cover is blocked. But also, to block the providers that might be costly in the countries you want to cover. Providers will offer an additional provider but will cost more.  This is something that we have endured in the past and can result in costly situations. When we first started, we had a high data contract with a European provider. Little did we know that the Tampnet – a mobile mast in the North Sea – was not blocked. This resulted in very high cost, as we were paying 25 euros per GB. And ultimately, we were able to reduce the cost we had to pay, but still impacted our business early on. So, blocking the traffic is a must, when creating your ideal footprint.

Second aspect that you need to look at, are the portal functions that are supplied to monitor and control your SIMs.

  1. Can you activate and deactivate the SIM easily?
  2. Are you able to monitor the data real-time or is there a delay?
  3. What rules can be set e.g., data cap per SIM, region lock, throttling.
  4. And is there a suitable API if you decide to integrate the portal into your own management software?
  5. What alerts can you set. You need to think about, data cap alerts, out of bundle roaming alerts, footprint profile changes, changes in the status of the SIM card – going from activated to deactivated.

These are just a few pointers you need to keep in mind, that will assist you in creating a custom product or proposition that would best fit. Next to that, you need to make sure you have a dedicated account manager that you can contact regarding the portal. Having a person who can assist you swiftly is key to quickly understanding the functionalities to start building your ideal product.

Once you have a broader understanding of the portal, and the functionalities. You need to start looking at the SIM level.

When selling a SIM card, it’s good to know if the SIM can go to a suspended status. Meaning that you can activate and deactivate the SIM when you please. This will help in the future if you have any seasonal projects, or that you would like to create a custom plan that suspends after a certain data volume has been reached or the validity has ended. What is meant by a suspended state is, that the card is unusable, but also that you don’t get billed for that SIM card.

Then you also need to look at the rounding of the data. If you have a low scale data product, then the rounding is very important when it comes to your billing. As the data is rounded by each session, and each provider has their own method in rounding the data. The options are often 1, 10 or 100KB.

This might not sound like much, but having it done on all your SIMs could results into higher cost for data that you have not used. Let’s say you have 5000 SIM cards that have data sessions of 50KB. And each day you have roughly 30 sessions per SIM. With a rounding of 100KB this would mean that for each session, it’s automatically rounded up to 100KB. Meaning each day, you would be charged 5000*(50*30) / 1000 = 7500MB or 7.32GB. On a monthly basis that would mean that you would be paying for 219GB of data that you have not used.

So, paying attention the rounding is something that can save you a lot of money, for sure when you start scaling your SIM base.

At this moment you will be able to pick the telecom provider based on the points mentioned above. This is when they often want to know what the commitment is that you can give. In the past we have dealt with this a lot, and when just starting it’s hard to determine what your volume is going to be. Therefore, we advise to start the negotiation with an annual commitment. This way you can have time to start scaling your business and not get pressured by a monthly commitment that you might not meet.

This helped us when we first started. As our focus where travellers, and this being a seasonal product, it wasn’t easy to give a monthly commitment, as our data consumption varied depending on the higher travelling season. And with the annual commitment we didn’t waste money by paying too much for our data pool that we bought.

Once all checks have been done and your feel comfortable with the all the criteria’s mentioned above. The deal can be signed.