Ultimate SIM Card for Narrowband IoT - Hologram SIM

Welcome to the next chapter of Narrowband IoT blogpost series! Today's topic is the Hologram NB-IoT SIM card.

Implementation of the narrowband protocol has several bottlenecks and the coverage is one of the most important ones. The narrowband hardware of your system does need a SIM card which requires coverage in actual location, in order to transmit/receive data packages to/from carrier.

Hologram SIM Card

The reason of today’s blogpost is to lighten up the advantage of Hologram SIM. This card has global connectivity for your IoT or IIoT systems in over 196 countries and 550 carriers all around the world. For sure, it helps you to unify the SIM card selection process if your applications are located in supported areas.

Thanks to very small data payloads, this card has neither quota, nor contracts. During the registration period, you are able to select any package, upgrade/downgrade the plan whenever you need. No need to state that you can manage more than one SIM card at the same time.

The user interface of the SIM is very efficient for the developers like us. It has several developer resources, supports REST API and SDKs. Additionally, you can track your SIMs status whether it is live or connected, data usage in MBs, the country and the carrier that it is attached.

You can also start to try this SIM with a free SIM card!

Registration

First thing you need to do is registering your SIM card through the website of Hologram. To do so:

Navigate to hologram.io. Image 1: Get Started

Click on "Get Started" and proceed. Image 2: IoT Account

Click on "continue" and create your account. Image 3: Registration Form

Verify your email address and reach to dashboard. Image 4: Verification

Click on "Activate your first SIM" on top right. Image 5: Editions

After selecting the edition, type the serial number of your sim. The serial number of your SIM can be seen in following image, on your SIM card. Image 6: SIM Serial Number

For identifying your SIM card, you better should if you have more than one, prefixes and tags can be customised: Image 7: Prefixes

Hologram accounts are prepaid. At first glance, it starts with 20$ volume. In order to keep it alive, you can activate the auto-refill function. In our case, we disabled it. Image 8: Billing and Auto-Fill

Review what you have selected, click on "Pay&Activate" on top right. Image 9: Pay&Activate

APN is already set correctly, proceed with clicking on "APN is set". Image 10: APN

Here is the final state of the dashboard: Image 11: Dashboard

Actual state is "activating". Click on "update" after a minute and see the new state of your SIM: Image 12: Device

By clicking on the SIM card, for us it is called thingforward, you are navigating to messaging and protocol page. Here you can send cloud data or SMS, define data, port and protocol. Image 13: Send Message and Other Tools

Testing Hologram SIM with Tekmodul and Arduino Boards

The last step is to test Hologram SIM with narrowband hardware. To do so, we are going to use:

  1. Arduino Leonardo
  2. Tekmodul BC68 Board
  3. Hologram SIM Card

Image 14: Today's Hardware Setup

For programming and testing, please clone our nb-iot repository from GitHub:

https://github.com/thingforward/nbiot-arduino.git

Under the examples, you will see several test codes that you can upload directly. For more information about the coding, please refer to our former blogposts about programming NB-IoT. Here is a short output that shows the available bands after uploading a test code: Image 15: Console Output

Conclusion

That's all for today! Hologram SIM has some serious features for developers and combines them with its beautifully designed user interface. On the following blogposts, we will show how you can go further with Hologram SIM by using its additional services.

Your TF Team