Roaming: Cost vs. Coverage

When you start looking at what kind of connectivity solution you need for your IoT project you will likely be thinking about both coverage and price.  One will impact the other when it comes to choosing the right connectivity package for your IoT solution, so it’s important to consider all aspects of your connectivity needs.  

Depending on your use case your need for roaming can vary; for example, you may have devices that cross borders and/ or travel globally, you may have devices that are limited to one country or region, but that are also mission critical so need the best coverage possible, or you may have devices that will be deployed locally and are sending data once a day. All of this means that roaming is an essential component to some customer’s solutions, while for others cost control takes precedence.   

So, any number of factors will come into play when deciding which connectivity package is right for you.  

Quality of coverage vs cost of coverage 

No network has truly global coverage and most countries don’t have just one network – they often have 3-5 different operators, with some having better coverage than others. As a customer, you have the possibility to gain access to many all of these networks, but you can also limit the number you have access to. If you choose to have one operator per country that also allows roaming, you can choose the one where the cooperation is the tightest and the cost is lowest 

On the other hand, if you want access to all networks available, there is a price for this type of connectivity because your connectivity provider needs to cover the costs generated by roaming. So, the cost of connectivity will be reflected by whether you want all networks or just one.  

What are your needs? 

What we’ve seen at Tele2 IoT is that many of our customer’s solutions rely heavily on roaming. This of course includes customers whose devices are traveling across borders and around the globe, such as fleet management, but it’s also important for customers whose solutions are regional or national, often because they don’t always know where their devices will end up but also because they’re mission critical. 

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You need to weigh what your needs are and choose your connectivity package accordingly.

Looking at use cases, a simple monitoring or metering service, or a service that is primarily located in an urban area might mean you need connectivity to collect data regularly, but it’s not a mission critical situation where it would be a disaster if one device briefly loses connectivity or has a bad signal from time to time. Micro-mobility companies connecting e-bikes or e-scooters are one example of this. They’re mostly operating in urban areas, so probably would be satisfied with the connectivity package that offers good urban coverage but that won’t guarantee you’ll be covered outside of the city. For these types of companies, an urban-specific option with less comprehensive coverage will cover their needs while also helping to control costs. 

Other use cases, such as anything connected with healthcare or transactional data, is where access to all networks is much more important, even if they’re country or region specific, because loss of connectivity means they can’t operate their business. If something goes wrong or there is an outage for some reason, having access to all networks means even if a device briefly goes offline, it will quick scan for and pick up the best available network, and your mission critical solution will continue more or less uninterrupted. If you have limited your coverage to one or two operators, it’s not guaranteed you won’t face disruptions.  

Which package is right for you? 

At Tele2 IoT we understand that different customers have different needs. Therefore, we have developed a number of standard and premium packages that support your needs, no matter what they are. 

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Understanding what you want and what is important to your business needs should be part of your connectivity strategy.

For example, if price is your main concern and availability is not, you might want to choose the package which offers good coverage on selected networks. If you need the best available coverage, perhaps across different regions and borders, a more premium package giving access to all available networks would be better suited to your needs.  

To learn more about our connectivity packages and how we can help you understand which will effectively support your business needs, please get in touch.  

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