IoT Data Plans


IoT Data Plans:
A Complete Roadmap from Deployment to Monetization for Cellular Devices

by Ralph Heredia

IoT comprises a wide array of devices, each capable of generating and transmitting data at varying rates. When these devices are deployed globally, it becomes evident that network coverage, availability, and associated costs differ markedly from one region to another. Consequently, the notion of a universal, one-size-fits-all data plan is simply impractical.

The intricacies of IoT data plans pose significant challenges when preparing to introduce new IoT solutions. Navigating these challenges requires a keen understanding of the complexity involved.

For example, if you outfit your devices with network technology that’s incompatible in a new region or if you provision thousands of devices with data plans that surpass the application's actual requirements, you may face resource constraints and jeopardize the financial sustainability of your solution. On the other hand, underestimating data costs in regions with higher pricing structures can lead to unexpected expenses.

Choosing the correct connectivity provider who can offer reliable data plans optimized for your unique solution in the most cost-effective and scalable manner is crucial. At Zipit Wireless, we provide reliable and optimized IoT data plans. No matter your data needs, we have the flexibility needed as you scale your business and the tools to help you monetize your devices. 

In this guide, we explore IoT data plans in depth, with real-world examples and actionable advice to equip you with the knowledge needed to simplify the complexities of cellular data plans.

Chapter 1: Introduction to IoT Data Plans


What is an IoT Data Plan

An IoT data plan is a subscription package that provides cellular connectivity to physical objects (“things”), like industrial machines, security cameras, or GPS fleet trackers so that they can communicate, collect, and share information over cellular networks. IoT devices are embedded with sensors to “talk” or transmit information to other devices and systems. IoT data is shared between these sensors and stored in the cloud to be retrieved at any time. The data may include temperature readings in a restaurant refrigerator, the location of equipment, or surveillance videos. 

IoT data plans offered by a cellular provider typically include a set of data allowances, data rates, and specific terms of service. Once subscribed to a plan, device SIMs from the cellular provider automatically activate cellular service. A connectivity platform allows you to efficiently manage and monitor the data usage associated with your IoT data plans to ensure that your devices can function optimally while staying within your plan's limits.

To cover the costs of connectivity, you can offer subscription data plans to your customers as an avenue for you to monetize your IoT solutions and create a sustainable revenue stream. IoT data plans are not simply a means of connectivity but a strategic tool for business growth.

Consumer vs. Cellular IoT data plans

Consumer data plans cater to the needs of individuals and are designed for personal mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. They make internet connectivity, phone calls, texts, and app use possible but operate on a much smaller scale than cellular IoT data plans.

Consumer data plans predominantly rely on existing cellular technologies like 4G and 5G to provide connectivity to mobile phones. These technologies are optimized for voice, video, and internet access for individuals on the go. They offer high data speeds and low latency, making them ideal for activities such as streaming and gaming.

On the other hand, cellular IoT data plans accommodate devices for various industries and applications on a much larger scale. These plans prioritize scalability, coverage, and efficiency. Consequently, cellular IoT data plans leverage types of cellular technologies beyond 4G and 5G, such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or LTE-M. Many IoT devices prioritize long battery life, deep coverage, or cost-efficiency over simply high data speeds.

Chapter 2: Types of IoT Data Plans

1836419_WebImageTypesofIoTDataPlans_Option 1_120423

Striking the right balance between data usage and cost is key to optimizing your IoT connectivity. When selecting a cellular IoT data plan, choose a low-usage plan when data needs are sporadic or minimal, and opt for a high-usage plan when continuous data transmission is essential for the success of your IoT solution. 

Low-usage data plans

Low-usage cellular data plans are best for devices that transmit data infrequently or in small amounts or are designed for extended battery life. Cellular IoT data plans can be optimized for minimal usage in devices that check in infrequently, like remote environmental sensors or agricultural equipment in low-activity seasons. These plans prioritize efficiency and cost-effectiveness and typically offer a modest data allowance, often measured in megabytes (MB) per month. 

High-usage data plans 

High-usage cellular data plans are designed to accommodate data-intensive applications where devices transmit substantial volumes of data regularly or continuously. These plans offer substantial data allowances, often measured in terabytes (TB), to support the demanding data requirements of devices. 

High-usage plans provide real-time or near-real-time data transmission capabilities, making them suitable for applications that rely on constant connectivity and immediate data access. Compared to low-usage data plans, the cost per unit of data is often lower for high-usage plans, making them cost-effective for applications with significant data needs.

Unlimited data plans

Unlimited usage data plans are best for IoT applications with substantial data requirements and a need for uninterrupted connectivity. With no data caps, devices can maintain consistent performance and real-time connectivity, making them suitable for critical applications where uninterrupted data flow is essential. 

Unlimited plans offer the advantage of predictable billing by requiring a fixed monthly fee, irrespective of data consumption. This eliminates overage charges, which is beneficial for budgeting and cost predictability. 

While unlimited usage plans offer the convenience of unlimited data, they tend to be more expensive than low- or moderate-usage plans, so you should carefully assess your budget and data requirements before opting for an unlimited plan.

Opting for an unlimited IoT data plan can be advantageous, but it's important to recognize scenarios where these plans may not be the most cost-effective option. In cases where IoT devices have minimal data requirements and sporadic transmission needs, subscribing to an unlimited plan could result in paying for data that goes unused. 

By aggregating the data allowances of multiple IoT devices into a shared pool, you can avoid overpaying for unused data and align costs with actual usage. Shared data pools allocate data dynamically to different devices based on their specific needs, optimizing resource utilization and budget allocation.

Whether you're looking for low, high, or unlimited usage plans, Zipit Wireless is a one-stop shop for your IoT connectivity needs, with a wide range of rate plans and carrier options. We partner with top carriers to provide the flexibility to choose the right data plan that aligns perfectly with your IoT project's demands. With Zipit, you can select the most suitable carrier and rate plan to ensure your devices stay connected, perform optimally, and remain cost-effective.

Chapter 3: Assessing IoT Data Needs

How much data do you need?

1. What’s the device?

Understanding the nature of the IoT device is fundamental. Different devices have varying data needs. For instance, a temperature sensor may transmit small data packets intermittently, while a surveillance camera can continuously generate large volumes of data. You can estimate the frequency and volume of data transmission associated with each device to guide your data plan selection.

2. Where is the device being used?

The location where IoT devices are deployed significantly influences data requirements. Network availability, coverage, and data costs can vary from region to region. For example, devices in urban areas with robust network infrastructure may have different data needs than those deployed in remote or rural locations. Understanding the deployment location helps you account for regional disparities when choosing data plans and providers.

3. What events trigger usage?

IoT devices may transmit data continuously, periodically, or only in response to specific events or conditions. For instance, a smart home security camera may transmit data when motion is detected, while an industrial machine may send data at regular intervals or when a fault is detected. Recognizing these events helps you estimate data usage patterns and select appropriate data plans that align with device behavior.

What do you do if you don’t know how much data you need?

1. Test SIMs in development

Testing SIMs during the development phase is a prudent step for several reasons. First, it allows you to simulate real-world device behavior and data usage patterns. By collecting data on how the devices transmit and consume data in a controlled environment, you can estimate their future data needs more accurately. Testing can reveal unexpected data usage trends that might not be evident in theoretical planning.

2. Choose a flexible IoT data provider

Opting for a flexible IoT data provider is vital when data requirements are uncertain. A flexible provider offers adaptable data plans that can be scaled up or down as needed. This allows you to start conservatively and avoid the risk of overpaying for unused data. It also lets you adjust data allowances based on usage patterns once the project is deployed. 

3. Monitor data usage and adjust plans as needed

After choosing a flexible IoT data provider and deploying your IoT devices, closely monitor data usage. Real-world data consumption may differ from initial estimations, and usage patterns can evolve. You can make data plan adjustments as necessary by actively tracking data usage. You can increase its data allowance if your devices use more data than anticipated, or you can reduce the data plans and save costs if devices consistently use less data.

Chapter 4: Key Considerations for IoT Data Plans

IoT Data Plan Considerations_Zipit

What to consider with IoT Data Plans

1. Your choice of carrier

Choosing the right cellular carrier for your IoT project involves considering several crucial questions:

What's your application?

Start by defining the specific application or use case for your IoT devices. Different applications may have varying connectivity requirements. For instance, a smart agriculture application might require extensive coverage in rural areas, while a smart city project may need high-density coverage in urban environments. Understanding your application's connectivity needs is the first step in carrier selection.

Where are you looking to market devices?

Consider your target market and geographic reach. Are you planning to deploy your IoT devices locally, nationally, or internationally? Carrier network coverage and availability vary by region. Choosing a carrier with robust coverage in the areas where you intend to market your devices for reliable connectivity is essential.

How much data are you planning on using?

Estimate your data usage requirements to help you select a data plan that aligns with your usage patterns and avoid overpayment for unused data or data shortages during critical operations.

Do you have a carrier preference?

You may have a preferred cellular carrier based on prior experience or partnerships. If you have a relationship with a carrier, consider whether they offer suitable IoT services that meet your project's requirements. That carrier's network quality and coverage should align with your specific needs.

What carriers are your devices certified with?

Verify which carriers your IoT devices are certified with. Device certification ensures compatibility with specific carrier networks. Ensure that your chosen carrier supports the devices you plan to deploy. If not, you may need to undergo additional certification processes, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Should you choose a connectivity reseller or a traditional carrier? 

When evaluating traditional carriers, or Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), against connectivity resellers for IoT connectivity, it's essential to grasp the distinct dynamics associated with each. Many OEMs may assume that going directly to a carrier will result in better pricing and coverage, but this isn't always true. 

Authorized connectivity resellers, like Zipit, establish agreements with carriers, enabling us to provide competitive pricing and access to multiple networks to meet the needs of OEM and solution provider customers. These agreements offer several advantages, including enhanced coverage across various regions, redundancy to ensure uninterrupted connectivity, cost optimization, flexibility in choosing network technologies, and scalability for the growth of IoT projects.

Traditional carriers require you to meet monthly minimum revenue objectives (MROs), which can be a potential drawback for smaller projects. Failing to meet these objectives can result in financial penalties or obligations. Experienced connectivity resellers like Zipit can offer more flexibility in contract terms without MROs.

When dealing directly with a carrier, you may face longer and more inflexible contract terms, often spanning several years. This makes it challenging to adapt to changing business needs or technology advancements. In contrast, connectivity resellers typically offer greater freedom to adapt or switch carriers, providing greater operational agility.

You may need to work with multiple carriers due to varying network coverage and quality in different regions. Managing multiple platforms and billing with various carriers can be operationally challenging. Connectivity resellers simplify this process by providing a unified platform, easing billing complexities, and offering consolidated reporting to streamline the management of multiple carrier relationships.

Meeting your connectivity requirements with Zipit

At Zipit Wireless, we understand that choosing the right connectivity provider for your IoT needs can be complex and time-consuming. Dealing directly with carriers can involve lengthy processes, complex APIs, and a lack of comprehensive support. That's why we've made every effort to streamline the connectivity process, conducting extensive negotiations with carriers to alleviate your pain points and reduce the challenges often associated with carrier pricing and contract negotiations. 

One of the key benefits of partnering with Zipit is our flexibility. Unlike traditional carriers, we steer clear of single-carrier lock-ins, sparing you from the complexities of managing multiple agreements across various carriers and platforms—a logistical nightmare, to say the least. With Zipit, you can benefit from streamlined connectivity management and automated billing in a single platform, regardless of the number of carriers you use. 

Our authorized reseller status guarantees you receive dependable and consistent service with the benefit of adaptable agreements. We tailor our rate plans to fit your unique business model, eliminating the need for a one-size-fits-all approach often imposed by carriers. With Zipit, you can also expect activations within 24 hours—a level of agility that traditional carriers struggle to match.

Even if you already have contracts with carriers, you can seamlessly integrate our platform through APIs, further enhancing your connectivity capabilities. At Zipit Wireless, we're not just a connectivity provider but your trusted partner, offering unparalleled support, flexibility, and speed to market. 

2. Global deployment 

Preparing for global deployment early is a prudent business decision. This proactive approach maximizes your business reach and fosters long-term success and growth. 

Several critical factors come into play when considering IoT data plans for global deployment.

  • Network coverage and availability: Ensure the carrier's network provides reliable connectivity in urban and rural areas and across international borders.
  • Roaming agreements: Check if your chosen cellular carrier has roaming agreements with other carriers in different countries to facilitate seamless connectivity for your devices as they move across borders.
  • Data plan flexibility: Opt for flexible IoT data plans that enable you to adjust data allowances and rates based on specific geographic regions. This flexibility allows you to align data plans with varying needs and pricing structures across different countries.
  • Compliance and regulations: Be aware of regulatory requirements related to IoT deployments in each country you operate in. Compliance with local regulations and data privacy laws is essential to avoid legal issues and ensure data security.
  • Cost optimization: Carefully analyze the cost structures of IoT data plans in different regions. Consider the pricing models, overage charges, and other associated costs. Choose plans that offer cost-effectiveness while meeting your data requirements.
  • Global support: Ensure your cellular carrier provides adequate global customer and technical assistance. Reliable support is essential for troubleshooting and addressing connectivity issues in various regions.
  • Scalability: Choose data plans and carriers that can accommodate future expansion or changes in deployment scale without excessive administrative complexities.

3. SIMs

Making an ill-informed choice when selecting SIM cards can prove a costly mistake. For instance, deploying an IoT device in a region where your chosen SIM carrier lacks coverage could require an expensive product recall and redesign. Such a substantial setback in a product launch can have severe repercussions for your business.

Each SIM choice has advantages and considerations, so selecting the most suitable option depends on factors like the device's geographic deployment, flexibility needs, redundancy requirements, and ease of management.

SIMs for IoT deployments

Localized SIMs from individual in-market carriers: This approach involves using SIM cards provided by specific carriers in each target market or region where your IoT devices operate. It allows for tailored connectivity but can be administratively complex and may require managing multiple carrier relationships.

Dual SIM: Dual SIM devices can accommodate two SIM cards, typically from different carriers. This offers redundancy and flexibility, allowing IoT devices to switch carriers for improved coverage.

SIMs from multiple carriers: This “localized” approach involves using different SIMs in different regions for the best coverage in a particular region. Using SIMs from multiple carriers allows you to tailor connectivity solutions for each SKU, optimizing network performance and cost-effectiveness per region.

Global SIMs: Global SIM cards offer connectivity worldwide, making them suitable for IoT devices with international deployments. They provide consistent service across borders but may have varying pricing structures.

eSIM (embedded SIM): SIMs are physically integrated into IoT devices, offering a form factor that is embedded directly within the device. This makes them ideal for devices deployed in challenging environments or locations with limited physical access.

eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card) SIMs: These SIMs allow for remote, over-the-air provisioning of carrier profiles. They offer flexibility to switch carriers without physically changing SIM cards, making them valuable for devices that adapt to changing network conditions or carriers.

How to choose the right SIM 

1. Consider the number of unique device configurations or models (SKUs) you offer. 

Do you plan to ship multiple product SKUs or only one? If only one, then you just need a single SIM. But if you plan to offer multiple product SKUs, each with distinct connectivity demands, then using SIMs from multiple carriers becomes more efficient. 

It’s important to note that devices designed in the US may not work in other countries because they use different antennas, frequencies, or chipsets. In this case, you’ll need two different SKUs and, therefore, two different SIMs. 

2. Analyze the data consumption patterns of your IoT devices. 

If some devices require high data usage or are frequently in areas with limited coverage, global or multi-carrier SIMs may be necessary to ensure uninterrupted connectivity. For devices that primarily operate in their home region, localized SIMs may suffice.

3. Think about where your IoT deployments will be located.

Your deployment location can inform which technology, carrier, and SIM to choose. 

Consider SIMs from carriers with strong coverage in those specific areas for localized deployments. If your devices are scattered across different countries, global SIMs or multi-carrier SIMs can simplify connectivity management. If you want to market your device in all countries, then a global SIM is your most cost-effective option. 

4. Take into account the specific network technologies your devices require. 

Will you use 4G LTE, 5G, LTE-M, or NB-IoT? SIMs can vary between cellular technologies regarding configuration, capabilities, and optimization. Ensure that the SIMs chosen are compatible with the required technologies to optimize device performance.

5. Assess the mission-critical nature of your IoT application. 

For mission-critical applications where uninterrupted connectivity is vital, redundancy is essential. Dual SIM devices or multi-carrier (eUICC) SIMs that switch between networks can provide failover capability.

6. Evaluate carrier availability and performance in the regions where your devices will be deployed. 

Finally, partnering with carriers that provide robust coverage and dependable service in your deployment areas enhances your IoT project's overall effectiveness and success, minimizes connectivity disruptions, and maximizes the potential of your connected devices.

Consider this example: One customer approached Zipit with a unique challenge. They wanted seamless IoT device coverage across Venezuela. However, they had to choose from one of three primary cellular carriers. Opting for one carrier's SIM cards would have meant their devices wouldn't connect to the other networks.

Because of our diverse carrier relationships, we were able to offer them a multi-carrier SIM approach. This solution ensured they weren't tied to just one carrier's limitations. Connectivity on all major regional carriers maximized this customer’s coverage and reliability.

At Zipit, we solve challenges like these regularly. We don't just provide IoT connectivity; we offer solutions that fit your device requirements and business goals.

Chapter 5: Selecting The Right Data Plan

How to choose an IoT data plan

IoT data plans come in various configurations to cater to many applications and customer needs. It's crucial to evaluate these plans based on the unique demands of your IoT project. Data volume, speed, and geographic coverage should be weighed against your specific requirements. Some applications may necessitate high-speed, low-latency connections, while others prioritize cost-efficiency and extensive coverage.

Here are a few things to consider when selecting an IoT data plan: 

1. Considering the specifics of your use case and the requirements of your IoT application. 

For instance, if you use cellular data for network redundancy, where an IoT router is activated only when the primary internet connection fails, you'll need a data plan that aligns with these requirements. Flexibility and cost-effectiveness are key factors to consider in this instance. You'll want a plan to efficiently manage data consumption during failover events without incurring excessive costs.

2. Consider the connectivity demands of your device type. 

IoT data plans are designed to accommodate different categories of devices, each with individual connectivity requirements. For instance, devices with high data consumption, like surveillance cameras, may benefit from plans offering substantial data allowances. On the other hand, low-power sensors might be better suited for plans optimized to minimize data usage.

3. Consider whether you need multiple data plans. 

It’s not unheard of for the same device to require varying data plans. This situation arises if you want to provide different service levels or tiers that consume different amounts of data. For instance, a fleet management solution may offer basic tracking with a lower data plan tier and advanced real-time monitoring with a higher data plan tier. This approach caters to a broader range of customer needs and provides a means to monetize your IoT offerings effectively.

By aligning the features and pricing of your data plans with the diverse applications, device types, and service tiers within your IoT ecosystem, you can tailor your connectivity solutions to meet the varying data demands of your customers while ensuring cost-efficiency and optimal performance.

There’s complexity in IoT. If you have questions and need answers–come and talk to us. If you don’t know how much data you need, what markets to enter, which carriers will give you the best coverage for the best price worldwide, or how to manage multiple carriers and product lines, talk to us! We can help you. 

– Ralph Heredia, Vice President and Cofounder at Zipit Wireless 

How much do IoT data plans cost? 

IoT data plans and pricing should be customized to your specific situation. IoT data plans can range from smaller plans at a lower cost suited for intermittent data needs in rural areas to more expensive plans tailored for high-speed, high-volume data transmission in urban settings. Choosing a plan unsuitable for your needs can result in unnecessary costs or inadequate performance. 

Consider agricultural IoT devices that rely on soil moisture sensors and weather stations. These devices send periodic data updates and may cover vast rural areas with varying network availability. In this scenario, plans designed for high-speed, real-time data streaming would be excessive and costly. A plan that matches these sensors' intermittent data transmission needs can keep costs in check without compromising performance.

On the other hand, consider an urban smart traffic management system that demands constant, high-volume data flows to ensure real-time decision-making. In this case, attempting to use the same data plan designed for agriculture would likely lead to network congestion and performance issues. In urban applications, a data plan optimized for high-speed, high-volume data transmission is essential to maintain the system's responsiveness and effectiveness. While this plan may come at a higher cost, it's a necessary investment to ensure reliable real-time traffic management.

Data usage is variable, so loads will go up and down. Beware of companies offering set prices for set data packages because the pricing can’t be optimized to your situation. These companies may artificially price high because they don’t understand your realistic data usage estimates.

To optimize costs with any data plan, partner with Zipit for customizable data plans and the freedom to scale your data usage as your IoT project evolves. This flexibility ensures you get the right amount of data at a cost that makes sense for your specific application. Zipit's comprehensive platform empowers you to tailor your IoT data plans to meet the evolving demands of your project while keeping expenses in check.

IoT data plans from Zipit Wireless 

At Zipit Wireless, we understand that selecting the right IoT data plan is crucial for the success of your project. That's why we offer a comprehensive range of data plans tailored to meet the diverse needs of your IoT devices. Our commitment is to simplify the process while providing you with the flexibility and scalability you require. Here's what you can expect from our IoT data plans:

Data plans for all device types: Our IoT data plans support a wide range of cellular technologies, from 2G to 5G. This flexibility ensures that your devices can connect and communicate effectively, regardless of their specific technology. 

Global coverage: Our global coverage ensures your devices stay connected wherever they operate. With Zipit, you can choose global SIMs or SIMs from multiple carriers, providing seamless global connectivity, even in regions with varying network availability.

High-usage plans: Our data plans cater to the diverse data requirements in IoT. Whether you need high-speed business internet in a busy city, low-data options for remote agricultural sensors, or anything in between, we have customizable plans to meet your needs. This flexibility allows you to align your data plan with your project's specific needs, avoiding unnecessary data costs or potential data limitations. 

Management and monetization: Beyond providing connectivity, we offer tools to efficiently manage and monetize your IoT devices. With our connectivity management platform, you can monitor data usage, track device performance, and make informed decisions. Our platform ensures the optimal performance of your devices and opens avenues for monetizing your IoT solutions and maximizing your return on investment.

Carrier flexibility: We recognize that different IoT applications may require connectivity from various carriers due to geographic coverage, technology compatibility, or other factors. Our platform's flexibility allows you to seamlessly switch between carriers as needed, ensuring your devices maintain uninterrupted connectivity. This carrier-agnostic approach gives you the freedom to choose the best network for each deployment, enhancing the reliability of your IoT ecosystem.

Scalability: We offer complete flexibility with no physical limitations on the number of devices or data usage. With this flexibility, your IoT project can grow and adapt to changing demands without constraints or complicated adjustments. We understand that each IoT project may involve different software platforms, so we have no restrictions on vendor software compatibility. 

Data pooling: With data pooling, you can optimize your data allocation. This means you can aggregate data plans, allowing efficient data resource management. In cases where one device utilizes less data than anticipated, you can redistribute the unused data to other devices, preventing wastage and ensuring cost-effective operation.

Transparent pricing: We believe in straightforward, transparent communication, which is why our IoT data plans come with no termination or activation fees. This means you can change your plan or discontinue services without incurring unexpected charges, making budgeting and planning more straightforward.

Chapter 6: Challenges and Solutions for IoT Data Plans

Challenges with IoT data plans 

Historical challenges with international carriers

Historically, dealing with international carriers has posed challenges for OEMs. Different regions often come with varying rates and price plans, making it complex to manage IoT data plans efficiently. This discrepancy can result in unexpected expenses and difficulties budgeting for global IoT projects.

Solution: To address the historical challenges with international carriers, opt for IoT data plans that offer consistent pricing and data allowances across regions. By partnering with a connectivity provider like Zipit Wireless, you can ensure predictable costs and streamline data management for your global IoT devices. This approach allows for a more straightforward and cost-effective way to manage IoT data plans across diverse geographic areas.

Optimizing data usage

Optimizing data usage remains a significant challenge for OEMs. IoT devices may transmit varying amounts of data, and inefficient usage can lead to higher costs and underutilization of data allowances. 

For example, a GPS tracker typically checks in once daily unless it's actively used. The frequency of daily check-ins determines how much data it will consume. This dynamic data consumption pattern requires effective strategies to optimize data usage to optimize data usage while ensuring that devices are in line with their specific usage requirements.

Solution: To address the challenge of optimizing data usage, Zipit provides a range of data plans to suit varying usage needs, whether you need 50 MB or 150 GB. We also offer automated data management and device pooling behind the scenes to help you achieve the lowest cost by efficiently allocating data across devices. 

On Zipit’s connectivity management platform, you can monitor device data consumption patterns and adjust data allocation as needed. By closely monitoring data consumption, With this information at hand, you can take proactive steps to manage these devices more effectively, potentially reducing data costs and improving overall efficiency.

Overage charges

Overage charges can pose a significant financial burden, particularly when IoT devices exceed their data limits. These charges can lead to unexpected expenses, impacting the overall project budget. For example, we engaged with a customer who subscribed to data plans priced at $10, with overage charges assessed at $20 per megabyte (MB) for data consumption exceeding the allocated limit. 

If devices consistently exceed their data limits, these overage charges can accumulate rapidly, significantly increasing the overall operational costs. Effectively managing overage charges is crucial to prevent such financial setbacks and ensure IoT projects remain within budget.

Solution: Zipit provides flexible IoT data plans tailored to your specific requirements. You can choose plans that match your devices' data consumption profiles, helping you avoid unnecessary overage charges. The data insights our connectivity platform provides assist in tracking data usage so you can proactively manage your devices and stay within budget. Data alerts within our platform notify you and your customers when data usage approaches predefined thresholds, providing an extra layer of control and cost management.

Worldwide coverage

Ensuring worldwide coverage for IoT devices can be challenging, as network availability varies across regions. This inconsistency can lead to connectivity issues and hinder device performance. On one occasion, we worked with a customer who introduced a Cat-M1/NB-IoT product and shipped it worldwide, only to discover that the expected coverage was not universally available. They had to fall back on 2G/3G networks, causing connectivity problems and affecting their product's performance.

Solution: To address this challenge, we provided the customer with a single global SIM to guarantee connectivity wherever the customer’s devices deployed. We have agreements with multiple carriers worldwide to provide extensive network coverage anywhere in the world.


IoT ecosystems often encompass various devices with varying data consumption patterns and billing requirements. This complexity can lead to billing inefficiencies, revenue leakage, and challenges in accommodating flexible billing models demanded by end users. 

Also, the global nature of IoT deployments can introduce additional complexities related to currency conversion, taxation, and compliance with regional billing regulations. Handling these intricacies is essential to maintaining financial transparency, cost control, and customer satisfaction in IoT projects.

Solution: To address the intricate billing challenges in IoT projects, Zipit provides a platform that streamlines billing processes. Our partnership with Bushnell, a leading manufacturer of wireless trail cameras, is one example of how we simplify IoT billing.

Leveraging Zipit's connectivity and billing platform, Bushnell could activate cameras on multiple cellular networks, offer data services packages through a subscription model, and handle various transaction types, including one-time purchases and recurring subscription plans. We provided Bushnell with user-friendly online portals for customers to activate devices and subscribe to and manage data plans. This transformation significantly increased Bushnell's revenue potential per device while providing an enhanced customer experience.

How to manage IoT data plans

Admin Portal - Managing Carriers-1

Managing IoT data plans effectively is crucial for optimizing device performance and controlling costs. A vital tool in achieving this is a connectivity management platform that allows you to monitor data usage in real-time, ensuring that devices stay within their allocated data allowances. This real-time visibility enables proactive management, preventing overage charges and optimizing data usage. 

Connectivity management platforms can automate processes like adding or removing SIMs from data plans, making it easy to scale up or down as your IoT ecosystem evolves. By leveraging such a platform, you can simplify IoT data plan management complexities, enhance device performance, and maintain cost control.

How to monetize IoT data plans

Monetizing IoT data plans is a strategic approach to generating revenue to grow your IoT solution. Subscription billing for IoT data is one effective method to achieve this. You can offer data plans to customers through recurring subscription payments. This approach ensures a steady stream of revenue while providing customers with the convenience of automated billing.

With subscription billing, you can offer plans at different pricing tiers tailored to varying customer needs. Subscription billing also simplifies the billing process for you and the end user, reducing administrative overhead and improving customer satisfaction. With the right billing strategy, you can effectively monetize your IoT data plans, driving revenue growth and long-term sustainability.

Chapter 7: Choosing the Ideal Data Plan Provider

How to choose an IoT data provider

When looking for IoT data plans to support your connected device offerings, the provider is one of the most important factors to consider. The connectivity provider you choose is as important as the data plan itself. Pricing and the potential value you could derive from your investment fluctuate significantly among providers. Here are the criteria to weigh as part of your decision. 

1. Flexibility 

A reputable IoT data provider should offer a range of data plans tailored to various IoT device types and usage scenarios. Look for providers with the flexibility to customize plans to meet your specific needs, whether you require high-speed data for real-time applications or low-cost plans for devices with minimal data requirements.

2. IoT expertise

Consider the provider's experience in the IoT industry. An established track record and a history of successfully serving other OEMs indicate their ability to meet your requirements effectively. The provider should understand your needs and be able to support them efficiently. IoT devices are very different from traditional cellular devices. The fact that a provider can offer smartphone or tablet plans does not mean those plans have been authorized for IoT use. No authorization means increased risk to your business.

3. Authorization

Ensure the IoT data provider is authorized to operate in the regions where you plan to deploy your devices. Compliance with local regulations and licensing is crucial for seamless connectivity.

4. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Evaluate the TCO of the IoT data provider's offerings. This includes the cost of data plans and any hidden fees, such as activation or termination charges. A transparent and predictable TCO is essential for budgeting. If you consistently run through your data caps monthly, has your provider offered you the right solution for your IoT application?

5. Ability to accommodate new and legacy technologies 

Verify that the provider supports the cellular technologies your IoT devices require, whether 4G LTE, 5G, LTE-M, or NB-IoT. Adapting to evolving technologies is also essential for future-proofing your IoT connectivity. 

6. Roaming across established networks

You need reliable coverage that’s scalable. When you run into coverage issues, it could be that your existing provider doesn’t have the authorization or agreements in place with carriers to offer both off-net and on-net coverage, something an authorized reseller may be in a better position to support.

7. Seamless activations 

Choose a provider that offers streamlined activation processes for your devices. Delayed or complex activations can disrupt your deployment timeline and impact your project's success.

8. Transparent agreements 

You never want to be in a position where you don’t know what you are paying for. Your provider's business agreements (and reports and invoices) should be clear and easy to understand. Review the provider's agreements carefully. Ensure that terms and conditions are clear and there are no hidden clauses that could lead to unexpected costs or limitations.

9. User-friendly platform with useful analytics

Admin Portal - Carrier Usage Reporting Dashboard (1)

Your life will be much easier if your provider has an easy-to-use subscription platform to support your business as it scales. Your provider shouldn’t make you jump through hoops to manage your devices by requiring numerous accounts due to artificial limits constraining the number of devices you can oversee/manage concurrently. These limits only serve to hamper your growing business operations.

You need to know how your business performs and access insights and key performance indicators within the connectivity and billing platform to help you quickly and efficiently respond to problems and opportunities. Metrics to track include the number of active devices, total data usage, growth rates, and gross margins.

10. Automated billing 

Automation is critical to simplifying billing processes. Consider providers that offer automated billing solutions, making it easier to manage subscriptions, track usage, and handle invoicing efficiently.

Why partner with Zipit Wireless as your IoT data plan provider?

At Zipit, we’re dedicated to simplifying the complexities and empowering your IoT projects. Our solutions provide you with the tools needed to focus on innovation, customer satisfaction, and business growth while we handle cellular connectivity.

Over a decade of IoT experience

Over the past decade, Zipit Wireless has earned a reputation for providing reliable, innovative, and secure IoT connectivity solutions. Our extensive experience equips us to understand the intricate challenges and nuances of the IoT landscape, making us a trusted partner.

Comprehensive IoT connectivity platform 

Zipit Wireless offers a robust connectivity and billing platform that allows you to effortlessly manage connectivity, monitor device status, and implement subscription billing models to monetize your IoT devices. This multifaceted platform simplifies operations, enhances efficiency, and maximizes the return on your IoT investments.

With our end-user portal, your customers can effortlessly log in to activate devices, manage subscriptions, and top-up on data. Behind the scenes, you can securely activate and oversee IoT-enabled devices, all while efficiently handling customer service tasks–all from a single, centralized location. You can choose pricing strategies that fit your customer base, ensure continuous connectivity, manage multiple carriers, and monitor revenue from your subscriptions. 

Extensive carrier relationships

Connectivity is at the heart of IoT, and Zipit ensures you can connect your devices with any of the world's leading carriers. By leveraging our relationships with multiple carriers, we can help you tailor your connectivity solutions to your precise requirements. Whether you're looking for global coverage or specialized regional deployments, our platform seamlessly integrates with major carriers, allowing you to choose the best carrier for each region in which you operate. 

Data planning expertise

Determining the appropriate data plan can be a challenging task. We leverage our industry knowledge and strong relationships with carriers worldwide to help you make well-informed decisions. We aim to ensure you receive top-notch coverage at an optimal price, enabling efficient cost management.

Merchant of record

We take the hassle out of global VAT tax compliance. As your trusted partner, we assume the role of Merchant of Record, taking responsibility for collecting, reporting, and filing VAT taxes around the world so you remain compliant with tax regulations while you focus on your IoT business.

Partnering with Zipit Wireless provides an experienced and reliable ally in the IoT connectivity landscape. Our commitment to simplifying IoT connectivity, combined with our expertise and industry relationships, positions us as the perfect partner for your IoT data plan requirements.

Contact us to learn more about our IoT connectivity solutions. 

You may also like: