Bringing things to the Internet is not an easy job and a lot of resource utilization put pressure on the MOBILE TARIFFS FOR THE IOT.
Wirelessly via wireless , smart devices are the easiest way to the Internet of Things . Mobile network providers have offers for companies as well as for private customers.
Dog trackers, company cars, surveillance cameras in the garden or on the remote company premises: If machines of any size are to communicate with each other or with central computers, network access is required. Especially with mobile devices or if there is no Internet connection nearby, wireless solutions come into play via mobile radio.Also, air quality outdoor stations often use cellular access to send the measured data to the evaluation server.
Case Study of European Mobile Operators Offering IOT services
European Mobile network operators Telefonica, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom offer pure data access for this purpose – including a special feature: While still on national roaming with the coming portable radio standard 5G is discussed, free network choice with mobile radio accesses for machines is already reality for years.
National Roaming For The IoT
All three network operators of Europe make national roaming possible with a little trick: they use SIM cards from their foreign companies. For example, Telefónica uses a SIM card called Vivo-o2-Movistar with Spanish ID for local roaming in native country and global roaming. The country name of the Vodafone SIMs was not communicated to us by the Group. However, in writing, “IoT applications can access other networks worldwide in the event that there is no Vodafone network available, allowing for a dedicated global SIM card that is licensed and used exclusively for the Internet of Things . “
Similarly, it works for Telekom in the business IoT rates. The cards are called GlobalSIM here and are labeled “with an international connoisseur.” In addition, there are dedicated roaming agreements for this card with the other mobile service providers in Germany, ” writes the press office.
The pure data rates for IoT use are available to both home and business users. In doing so, the providers orientate themselves to the application. For example, Deutsche Telekom sees trackers of all kinds as a field of application for its SIMs for private customers. Similar to Vodafone: The residential customer product V-Sim is usually also included in tracking systems for dogs, cats, children or cars. But also mobile surveillance cameras Vodafone as a purpose on. Only O2 / Telefónica offers its pure data plan for private customers without an explicit deployment scenario and leaves the use to the customer.
Private IoT: Tracking, Watching, Driving
From the nature of the use, some providers also seem to derive the prices – such as Vodafone in the V-Sim. This offers the network operator individually and as a package of hardware and SIM card. Depending on the application and hardware, the packages are called V-Kids Watch, V-Camera, V-Pet Tracker or V-Auto. The private customer pays in addition to a one-time price for the hardware a monthly service fee, which is depending on the package and service between just under three and six euros. The pure V-Sim without coupled hardware and services costs around five euros; In addition, just under seven euros will be due monthly. Vodafone promises that the monthly fee will cover all data traffic across the EU.
At Telefónica / O2, private customers can access the o2 Go free ticket . Although the prepaid data tariff is without a basic charge, the traffic must be booked to customers. This can happen on a daily basis: For almost three euros, there are 500 MB per day. Who chooses the ten-day option for just under 20 euros, saves a third and can consume ten times 500 MB. Monthly it starts with the Surf Pack S with 300 MB for just under three euros. The XL pack with 10 GB of traffic is just under 35 euros.
A dedicated tariff for any IoT applications Telekom does not. In addition to its pure data rates, it also offers other specialized offers. As Car ConnectThe Group markets an IoT tariff for vehicles. Using an adapter plug not only telematics data are transmitted to the cloud, the plug also serves as a hotspot for up to five connected devices such as smartphones or tablets. They must divide the contained data volume of 5 GB for new customers and 10 GB, if the tariff is added to an existing contract. The adapter regularly costs just under forty euros, but is currently offered for one euro. If you want to track something other than your car, you can choose the Smart Connect S. The tariff called tracking flat costs about five euros and includes unlimited data volume with a download bandwidth of only 64 kbit / s. In the upload, there are only 0.064 kBits / s.
The business users have a completely different picture: Here, all three network providers offer great freedom and want to make their offers according to the customer’s request.
Business IoT: Not So Easy
Telefónica Deutschland offers its customers a tariff model designed especially for IoT applications. IoT Connect is used to connect machines and devices and to facilitate easy access to the Internet of Things and M2M applications. The tariff consists of a modular service catalog with two basic rates and numerous bookable additional services. The basic tariffs differ according to priority use in Germany or in Europe.
In a kind of kit, customers can choose between short and long term, flexible data packages and other options. Particularly interesting: The booked data packets per SIM can be combined in a common pool. This way different traffic requirements can be compensated. At the end of the very clear IoT tariff construction kit , Telefónica displays both the total price and the price per SIM used. For the management of the booked SIMs, there is a special platform called Kite that allows customers to manage their devices and facilitate integration with IoT Cloud.
For specific offers and prices, Telekom and Vodafone are rather cautious, in contrast to Telefónica. Upon request, Vodafone describes its tracking system Vodafone IoT Tracker for vehicles from cars to trucks, construction machinery and other moving objects. Part of it is a surface where the customer can track his tracked objects. The platform can book business customers from just under four euros per month per tracked object, the scope and cost of networking depending on the needs and wishes of customers. For all other applications such as machine control, remote monitoring or automation, the company can contact the network operator directly.
The same is true of Telekom: It points to the complexity of IoT applications. This starts with the question of whether the planned application should be used internally or sold as a product. Further aspects for the tailor-made IoT tariff are billing modalities, device activation, distribution and more. When asked, the press office announces, “It’s just not done on data tariffs alone – as a telecoms company, we have a self-service platform that allows our customers to meet all these different needs.”
Deutsche Telekom refers to its supply structure , which allows different tariffs depending on the business model. Nevertheless, starting in June of this year, a prepaid system will be sold as a simply bookable standard offer. In addition, the Group offers complete packages for selected uses such as tracking of goods and machine monitoring.
Alternative: Multi-SIM and additional cards
For both private and business users, a look at the terms and conditions of their mobile and fixed-line contracts can pay off. Because with so many additional SIM cards can be booked, which use the inclusive services of the contract with the same number as the main card. So you can bring his tablet or his smartwatch as well as IoT devices. The available data volume of the contract is mostly used by all cards together. But beware: The conditions for multi-SIMs differ depending on the mobile operators in part between the different contracts very strong.
Another way to bring trackers and other things online are additional SIM cards, as some fixed line providers offer them to their terminals. For example, at 1 & 1 some of its DSL connections have up to four free SIM cards throttled to 7.2 Mbps bandwidth and up to 100 MB of data per month. Only an activation fee applies to these cards. The term is linked to that of the main contract.
Oldschool: IoT control and feedback via SMS
New in all sorts of electronics, SIM cards are admittedly not. For a long time, for example, car heater can be controlled by remote control, which usually happened via SMS. The demand for such old technology is no longer strong according to Telekom, which is why SMS is no longer provided for IoT applications. Nevertheless, according to the press office, SIM cards from the company are multimode-capable and, in addition to the NB-IoT radio standard, they can always use 2G / 3G, which would still allow SMS.
Telefónica continues to see SMS as sometimes necessary – even for IoT applications. Accordingly, all Group IoT systems support the receipt of SMS: The Global Sim Vivo-o2-Movistar allows reception and transmission. Unlike Vodafone: Both the V-Sim for residential customers and Vodafone IoT Tracker for enterprise customers are pure IP-based data systems in which circuit-switched services such as sending / receiving SMS messages are not provided.
A look at IoT tariffs for both private and business customers shows that the Internet of Things is already a reality. With the expansion of 5G network operators expect a strong increase in networked devices. Telekom, for example, speaks of mass IoT and points out that today’s networks are technologically and economically insufficiently prepared for the onrush of machines. That’s why the company and its competitors are working hard to prepare the future networks and the services they need.
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- Amram is a technical analyst and partner at DFI Club Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm .He has over 10 years of technical and business experience with leading high-tech companies including Huawei,Nokia,Ericsson on ICT, Semiconductor, Microelectronics Systems and embedded systems.Amram focuses on the business critical points where new technologies drive innovations.