All You Need to Know About IoT Data Plans

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There’s no single IoT data plan that fits all, making it challenging to know what to anticipate when you’re readying to roll out a new IoT solution. In this article, we’re going to look at the key factors to consider when choosing an IoT data plan and what elements to pay attention to when weighing up connectivity providers, so you can have the assurance that the plan you’re about to choose is ideal for your business.

 

What is IoT Data?

Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of tangible components rooted with sensors so they can link up to various devices and systems in the cloud. These sensors serve as data sharing points, enhancing the communication between the multiple devices. The data is conveyed and kept in the cloud and can be accessed momentarily. For instance, IoT data may entail energy usage levels in a home or the location of a piece of equipment or any other device. However, for cellular IoT devices to perform this task, they need a data plan.

 

How to Pick an IoT Data Plan Provider

When searching for IoT data plans to bolster your connected device offerings, the provider is one of the essential factors to pay attention to. You can’t overlook a provider at the expense of the data plan since there is a significant variance in pricing and what you get in return for your money. Below are key factors to consider when shopping around for an IoT data plan provider.

  • Level of Expertise and Experience
    The provider should have an insight into your needs and be capable of addressing them satisfactorily. IoT devices are far much different from conventional cellular devices. While a provider can offer both smartphone and tablet plans, there is no assurance that those plans have been approved for IoT use. Lack of approval means that your business is more vulnerable to risks.
  • Optimized Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
    Settle for a provider that offers data plan optimization, among other services providing much-needed support for your business needs. If you’re routinely operating through your data caps months in months out, has your provider granted you the ultimate remedy for your IoT application?
  • Capacity to Accommodate Fresh and Legacy Technologies (Such as Cat-M1 vs. Standard LTE)
    Flexibility will ensure that your enterprise is ready for future product offerings and make sure you can support the devices in place with an array of options. An excellent cellular data provider should be flexible enough to provide various plans that will probably satisfy your needs instead of a “one-size-fits-all” strategy. 
  • Faultless Roaming Across the Laid Down Networks
    Look for a provider that offers reliable and scalable coverage. Without proper authorization or agreement with carriers to render on-net and off-net coverage, you’re bound to endure coverage issues from time to time. To avoid this problem, only close deals with authorized providers as they are well-positioned to support your coverage needs without any interruptions or delays.
  • Open Agreements
    It’s good to be in a position where you fully understand what you’re paying for. All the agreements, including the invoices and reports from your provider, should be explicit and straightforward to understand.
  • A Simple and User-Friendly Web-Based Interface
    Choosing a provider with an intuitive cloud-centered wireless subscription enablement platform will make it pretty easier to support your business as it grows. A provider should make it easy for you to run your devices without demanding several accounts as a result of artificial limits that restrict the number of devices you can manage simultaneously. The restrictions only serve to cripple your scaling business operations.
  • A platform that Provides Lifecycle Management and Valuable Analytics
    First and foremost, you need to understand better how your business is faring and have access to primary indicators that will help you act on issues and prospects swiftly and efficiently. Some of these metrics include overall data usage, the actual number of devices in use, gross margins, growth rates, and many more.

Authorized Resellers vs. Roaming Dealers

Although there is an option of contacting carriers directly, this method has shown to be ineffective for several connected companies due to the following reasons:

  • Multiple carriers demand you to subscribe to minimum financial commitments upfront
    This demand creates a needless risk for startups, smaller, or growing businesses. Authorized resellers pledge commitment to this minimum financial requirement by the carriers, and therefore working with a flexible reseller will alleviate your financial perils.
  • If you sell products in different geographies or countries, you will have to make agreements with every carrier and handle technical integrations with every carrier
    Authorized resellers usually have more cost-effective pricing plans for global markets compared to roaming traders since their business models are founded on worldwide roaming agreements. By agreeing to work with a reseller with international roaming agreements, you will be assured of getting coverage that meets your needs at a fair price.
  • Carriers provide no End Subscriber Billing Components, Hence It’s Your Responsibility to Build These Capabilities
    Various resellers provide powerful billing platforms that simplify your business operations.

 

What Exact Amount of Data Do You Need?

The most commonly asked question by all the IoT device companies is, “What exact amount of data do I need?” The answer to this question is determined by several factors. Clients can quickly determine the specific plan (s) they need depending on their distinct situation. The amount of data usage is influenced by the following factors:

  • Type of Device
    Devices are far from being created equal, so they use varying amounts of data. For instance, a device used purposely for streaming videos will use more data than one that takes and conveys routine temperature readings.
  • Coverage
    Are you aiming for local coverage, nationwide coverage, or worldwide coverage? Will devices be stationed within cities or in remote areas with sparse tower access?
  • Mode of Usage
    How often are clients using the device? Customer usage trends will undoubtedly influence the amount of data that you will need.
  • Instances that Instigate Data Usage
    If you have more devices checking in in no time, you will need more data and vice versa.