What is the difference between the types of SIM cards ?

iot sim card

A subscriber identity module (SIM) card stores data about its user (whether human or machine), including the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number and key. Each SIM card also contains a card identifier (ICCID), a 19 or 20 digit number usually printed on the back. The ICCID is a globally unique serial number that serves as a signature to identify the card. Some SIM cards can also store contact information and even run software.

Ultimately, the SIM card serves as the link between a cellular device and a network. It’s the identification card, in a way, that allows a device to join a network and send and receive data. Every cellular device, whether it’s a consumer smartphone or an IoT sensor, needs a SIM.

What is an IOT SIM card ?

Most articles on SIM cards focus on their initial use in mobile phones. But in recent years, M2M (machine-to-machine) or IoT SIM cards have appeared. Unlike a traditional SIM card, an IoT SIM card sends and receives data rather than making voice calls. IoT SIM cards have more memory and durability than their consumer counterparts, and they also last longer, up to 10 years or more. They can tolerate harsh environments with stresses such as vibration, corrosion and temperature extremes.

IoT SIM cards work much the same as traditional SIM cards, storing unique information such as IMSI and carrier data and serving as a link to authenticate and connect the device to the network. But IoT SIM cards do not require human interaction on the device side to activate, which makes them more flexible and independent than traditional SIM cards. Today, some IoT SIM cards incorporate eUICC technology, which means that network operators can change SIM profiles for a particular device remotely, rather than sending personnel to find the device and change a SIM card. physical. 

What is a SIM Form Factor ?

SIM cards come in several form factors. When the first SIM cards appeared, there was only one format: the 1FF credit card. Today, there are 4 sizes of removable SIM cards, as well as the built-in SIM card (MFF2). Over the years, mobile phones have shrunk, and so have their SIM cards. IoT SIM cards come in the same forms as traditional consumer SIM cards.

How do I choose the best type of SIM card for my device?

Format is just one part of choosing the right SIM card for your IoT device. The decision mainly depends on the size of the device and the space that can be allocated for the SIM card. SIM card formats for the IoT Mini-SIM (2FF) Micro-SIM (3FF) Nano-SIM (4FF) Embedded SIM (MFF2).

eSIM vs. Nano-SIM

There is also some confusion around eSIM and Nano SIM, perhaps because they are both compact and represent modern technology. The Nano SIM has become ubiquitous in Apple iPhones and other smartphones and is also used in many IoT devices due to its small size. But while the Nano SIM works like a traditional removable SIM card, the eSIM sits inside and is permanently attached to the device. If the eSIM is compatible with the eUICC, you can switch identities via over-the-air (OTA) remote provisioning.

Device accessibility

Once deployed, will the device be easily accessible if you need to change the SIM card? For example, if you are designing an IoT sensor for vehicle fleet management applications, the devices can be found in all four corners of the world. In this case, the ability of the eUICC-compatible eSIM to switch SIM profiles remotely could prove useful. A special feature of the Move & Connect SIM cards is that regardless of the format, they are all eUICC compatible.


La couverture est une autre variable à prendre en compte. Les appareils à double carte SIM peuvent passer d’une carte SIM physique à l’autre, mais les cartes eSIM compatibles avec l’eUICC peuvent stocker plusieurs profils SIM supplémentaires, ce qui facilite le changement d’abonnement et de fournisseur de réseau.

What should I look for in a SIM card provider?

No matter which SIM card you choose for your device, you need to make sure it can deliver the longevity, durability, and global connectivity you need for your deployment. Depending on your use case, look for a SIM card provider that prioritizes the following:


Connectivity is an essential element for any IoT deployment. It is therefore paramount to find an IoT SIM card provider that can support global and flexible connectivity for your devices. Some providers are now carrier agnostic, which means they are able to use the best available network no matter where the device is located in the world. If the device is in motion, the SIM card can automatically switch between carriers to maintain optimal performance.


Choosing a carrier-agnostic IoT SIM card can help you scale faster, but other details also play a role. A SIM card that is also hardware agnostic can pair with any device and connect to any IoT cloud service. Also look for a vendor that streamlines integration with existing systems and lets your developers build custom apps and dashboards. For example, the powerful Move & Connect API helps you get onboarded quickly.

Plateform performance

Look for an IoT SIM provider that includes an easy-to-use device management platform that will allow you to deploy quickly.

A good device management platform should have customizable dashboards, role-based access control for security, and a 24/7 support channel for any issues. . It’s also a good idea to look for a vendor that performs regular updates and upgrades to their platform and keeps track of potential security threats.

eUICC capabilities

Even if you’re not ready to implement an eUICC-enabled eSIM into your current device design, it’s worth finding a vendor that can support them if you decide to go that route in the future. This way, you won’t have to find another supplier or switch suppliers if you want to enable remote provisioning in your future product models.

Clear pricing

Traditional M2M data plans often require upfront contractual commitments and fees to activate, deactivate, or switch plans. If you’re starting with a small deployment but want to scale, look for a provider that will allow you to do so cost-effectively – rather than paying for more than you need. For example, Move & Connect uses a flexible pay-as-you-go model, with clear pricing and all offers are non-binding. Move & connect provides IoT SIM cards which have been manufactured by Gemalto including the eSIM (MFF2). 

Our hardware-agnostic global SIM card allows you to connect to any network in any country and automatically switch carriers to ensure your device is getting the best service available (2G, 3G, 4G LTE and CAT-M1), wherever it is.


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