Cloud fees when using 3rd party sims


You always used to be able to create products without monthly fees if you we’re not using Particle sims, but now it appears not.

Am i correct in thinking that now you have to pay $2.99 a month no matter whether you use particle sims or not!? This is bonkers if so.

I understand a fee for using the cloud services, but this should be much less. I am unable to use particle sims due to terrible O2 coverage in the UK.

What are my options?


Yes, this is correct. It does indeed seem like a missed opportunity, since there’s no tier which accounts for the fact that you’re providing your own data. It would be nice if there were a $1/mo. choice for BYOD(ata).

That being said, you can still have 100 units without paying a per monthly fee, they just can’t be assigned to a product. And if you’re not distributing this to downstream clients, then there’s a lot less value in having a product. For us, for instance, we would only get value from having a simplified firmware push, the rest of the features aren’t really useful for what we’re doing. And the firmware push can be recreated in a script, so this isn’t hugely useful on its own.

FWIW, and this is complete speculation about Particle’s business model, it might be the case that the data is not the driving cost for Particle. If they are buying huge amounts of pooled data, then the per GB fee is probably closer to $5-10. If that’s the case, then the real cost is in paying the support for your commercial product not its data. So is $3/mo. for Particle’s excellent support team really asking too much?


Yeah when you’re talking about 10,000s of devices out in the field, $3 a month is far too much, especially once you add a small amount as a vendor/product, which I’m sure many will need to, and our clients will not pay that. We get our data for $1 per month.

A $0.50 a month fee for providing access to OTA updates etc would certainly be ok, but at this current price point there is no way we can continue with the particle platform at large scale :frowning:


If you have that many devices in the field the $2.99/month and unit don’t apply to you anymore.
The more units the cheaper the cloud and with 250+ Electrons you can negotiate a fee.

Have a look at and drag the slider as you see fit.

ok i’ll talk to them!

@ScruffR… dead link for prices… give a 404 error.

Just fixed it. Try again.


100% what ScruffR said. Particle definitely knows how to tailor a plan to meet your needs.

Considering that the hardware price is very advantageous, in a sense we’re lucky they allow 3rd-party SIM use at all. Those SARA modules aren’t cheap (maybe >$20/ea in volumes of 1-10k), and neither are the nice Taoglas antennas. I wouldn’t be surprised if the margin on the Electron is less than 100%. (Typically you need a 3-4x margin on COGS to stay in business, unless you’re doing absolutely huge volumes.).

Before hopping on the Particle bandwagon, we were building very small batches of our own custom boards with 2G modem, and our COGS was around $100/each. With this in mind, I consider that the free-market value of an Electron-like module is around $150/ea., and suddenly an initial price of $70 + two years at $3/mo. is a lot more reasonable.

Of course, I would still be very happy to see a tiered Product subscription plan where we could have a difference between products intended for downstream clients (such as Jacuzzi) and products which stay with the upstream company (such as a bikeshare company installing trackers on their bikes). In the former case, the $3/mo. Product plan offers a bunch of nice features. In the latter case, I think easy OTA support is the only real thing you’d miss.

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@modles & @kubark42, we just got confirmation that for sub 100 product Electrons with 3rd party SIM the cloud fee will (for the time being) waived.

Have a look here

Can confirm. For a large number of devices, even if you do use their simcards Particle is able to provide a data pool so you don’t end up paying $3 per device (if you use less data).

Don’t know about 3rd-party sims, but likely it’s negotiable as well like you said.

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This is for Device Cloud access. Unless things have changed since I asked our Particle Account Exec three weeks ago, the Product fees start at $2.99/mo. from the first unit, although there is a free trial period.

The OP mentioned creating Products, although the post topic makes it look like s/he’s asking about general Device Cloud access. Maybe @modles you could clarify which of the two you were referring to?

Hey all,

Jeff here from Particle. Hopefully I can clear some things up. I’d encourage everyone to check out our pricing page ( as well as the pricing FAQ on the docs ( which explores these topics in detail.

Some things to highlight:

  • Device Cloud monthly costs include 3MB of cellular data for each cellular device using a Particle SIM
  • Every cellular device using a Particle SIM gets 3 free months of Device Cloud service that includes 3MB and all of the Device Cloud features like device management, OTA firmware updates, remote diagnostics, etc. This free 3 months is given no matter how many units you have as a self-service customer. After this, there’s a monthly fee of $2.99, which decreases as your fleet grows
  • We do support prototyping with a 3rd party SIM to ensure that if you happen to be developing in an area without cellular coverage for Particle SIMs, you are able to do so with a different SIM. We fully wave the $2.99 monthly fee for up to 100 cellular devices that use a 3rd party SIM.
  • We do not encourage large scale deployments of Particle devices using 3rd party SIMs. This is due to our ability to better support devices using Particle SIMs and critical cellular data optimization measures we’ve taken that work only with Particle SIMs. If you are deploying a solution at scale and you do not believe Particle SIMs will work for you, we can help. We have an extensive carrier network to facilitate bringing on new carriers that add coverage areas to Particle SIMs. Please talk to our sales team for more information about this
  • Pricing is the same if devices are housed in a product or not. The only difference is you must move your devices into a product once you reach 100 under your user account

Ok thanks.

So i need to prototype a product with up to 100 units with a third party sim because there is poor 2g coverage with 02 in my area. How can I get the $2.99 monthly unit fee waived on this product?



This should happen automatically if the most recent cloud connection from the Electron was using a 3rd-party SIM. If that’s not happening, submit a support ticket with the billing email address and product ID.

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The 3rd party sim pricing link doesn’t work…

I’m trying to understand - but, apologies, I’m confused. If we use a 3rd party sim in a boron, and a mesh network connected to that boron with say, 5 xenons, what’s the monthly price for that scenario?

– Dan

This link should work:

That is free as long as three conditions are met:

  • You have less than 100 devices (including Borons with 3rd-party SIM cards) in your account
  • You stay in the micro network size of 10 devices (9 Xenons + a gateway)
  • You have 10 or fewer gateways in your account

Just trying to clarify - I meet those rules - but I see I have a “network” now - that is free for 90 days - but after that I’ll be billed?

Again - this is a for a mesh network with a boron gateway, bring your own sim, and < 10 xenons.

I can’t reconcile these two ideas. Can you help?

With only a Boron and 9 or fewer Xenons:

  • With a 3rd-party SIM card, it’s free forever (as long as you have 100 or fewer devices)
  • With the Particle SIM, it’s free for 3 months (for up to 3 MB of data each month), then US$2.99/month thereafter (for 3 MB of data, charge for additional data varies depending on country).

What are cloud fees for 3rd Party Sim card Boron LTE > 100 devices?