Nordic has achieved this by bundling a globally-usable iBASIS eSIM with 10 MB of free initial data into all its nRF9160 Development Kits. All a Nordic nRF9160 cellular IoT customer has to do is register their eSIM on Nordic’s nRF Connect for Cloud website to seamlessly connect to the iBASIS ‘Global Access for Things’ network and gain access to an entire range of configurations, monitoring, and connectivity services.
Although it’s not common knowledge outside of the cellular communications industry, global smartphone connectivity and roaming services are actually provided by only a few international carriers that partner with local national carriers to enable connectivity and roaming for voice, data, and IoT services worldwide. iBASIS is one of the world’s largest international carriers or ‘IP Exchange providers’ and used by over 700 local carriers in over 190 countries.
As a result, Nordic’s nRF9160 cellular IoT customers get instant high-quality global connectivity without having to go through the ordeal of negotiating and managing multiple relationships with individual local cellular carriers around the world. Using eSIM technology, they simply leverage iBasis as a single global connectivity supplier, with a single contract, a single ‘operations’ on-line dashboard, and a single monthly bill that breaks down all global services used.
An eSIM is a remotely, over-the-air ‘provisionable’ (programmable) SIM that can hold multiple sets of local network operator credentials in contrast to a traditional SIM card that can only hold one set of operator credentials. The iBASIS eSIM meets all relevant GSM Association (GSMA) standards and is soldered onto the nRF9160 SiP module.
The nRF9160 SiP – which is available from major global electronics distributors such as Digi-Key Electronics, Mouser Electronics, and Premier Farnell (amongst others) – is significantly smaller, lower power, and has more security features than any other cellular IoT module launched to date for LTE-M and NB-IoT applications. It is also certified for global operation, has a host of unique IoT-targeted features, and is dramatically easier to design-in (see ‘More about nRF9160 SiP’ below).
“iBASIS believes that for IoT to succeed, connecting things should be easy,” says Ajay Joseph, CTO of iBASIS. “We feel IoT connectivity should be turnkey, seamless, and secure. We’re delighted to partner with Nordic Semiconductor to provide an eSIM for Nordic’s nRF91 Series cellular IoT modules. We are reducing complexity, making it easy to support Nordic’s customers’ global deployment, using a single eSIM, for a remotely programmable on demand service. Nordic customers can focus on their core competencies knowing that their cellular IoT connectivity, coverage, speed, latency, and security are all being expertly managed by one of the world’s leading international cellular data carriers.”
“We designed the nRF91 Series from the outset to make cellular IoT easy and applicable to any application that would benefit from a cellular connection,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “For us, this extends to every aspect of the module’s operation and customer experience and that includes making international connectivity and roaming automatic and instant. In fact, I think for any IoT application to succeed its wireless IoT connectivity must be that simple. With the iBASIS eSIM, we believe Nordic Semiconductor has delivered this to its customers. It’s also why we believe cellular wireless technology is an ideal technology for building the Internet of Things.”