Reasonable 3rd party data provider for Electron w/ 3g service?

Alright, I know this question might ruffle some feathers with the Particle people since they want to sell data at $1/MB, but that is not tractable for the project I am working on. I am building a handful of devices that will do about 100MB/month, at which point it would be cheaper to just get them full-fledged T-Mobile One plans.

So the question is: does anyone know of reasonable offers in the US, networks and plans, which will work the the US market electron?
3G speeds aren’t necessary, but I am reading that 2g service is spotty as 2g networks start to shut down. So widepsread coverage is def necessary.

I am finding is fairly hard to sort out the specifics, which network will support which standard at which frequency and on which bands. Unfortunately, I commonly get routed to salespeople who know zero technical information, but will say “yes” no matter what.
For example, I can’t really get a firm answer on whether or not the AT&T IoT service will work on the same HSPA bands that the U260 supports.

The Electron U260 (3G) is on the AT&T M2M (their IoT SIM) product supported list and is reported to work, though I have not tried it myself.

AT&T is one of the two carriers for the Particle SIM in the United States, the other being T-Mobile. AT&T is shutting down their 2G service, and has already turned it off in many locations, leaving only T-Mobile for 2G in the United States.

Hi @apullin, I’ve been working with the folks at AT&T and have moved all but one of my Electrons over to their service. It appears to be very affordable and actually allowed me to consider moving to the Electron device (from Photons with MiFi devices for cellular uplinks).

You should go to https://iotdataplans.att.com and check it out. Please PM me if you have any issues. I’m not affiliated with AT&T in any fashion other than being an IoT customer–very satisfied to date. The folks there have been quite helpful.

Also, as much as the Particle folks might enjoy having us as data customers, I believe the bigger picture is growing the customer base for products based upon the Particle platform. The AT&T offering is certainly an enabler in my mind.

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Great, thanks @rickkas7 and @ctmorrison , this is exactly what I was looking for: a confirmation that the AT&T service will work with my devices. Their 3GB pool is what I was already looking at, as it suits my needs very well.
TMobile’s $25/dev/year plan was not the right fit, nor was their $20/month for 2GB. And all my reading indicates that Ting will only provide 2G service for a U260 radio.
Time to place an order!

@ctmorrison The ATT plans look good if your planning on running many Electrons.

Quick question since your already using the ATT service.

  1. On the 1Gig plan it says you have can have up to 1,000 sims. Does that mean I can just have that 1 plan and share the data between 1,000 Electrons?

  2. Using the ATT SIM do you have to set a new update ping time? I think the Particle sim requires a ping ever 23 mins. Is a more frequent ping required with the ATT sim?

  3. Have you tried using their SMS messaging that’s included with the sim service?

@RWB, so here’s what I understand regarding your questions:

  1. I currently have about a dozen Electrons on a single 1 GB plan. I see no reason this can’t be extended as far as you need–that’s certainly my hope.
  2. I did introduce the statement Particle.keepAlive(120); in setup() due to my assumption it would be required. I have not fine-tuned it for a longer period.
  3. I don’t have a clue. You’ll have to ask the AT&T folks about SMS via that SIM

I hope this helps. I still do not yet understand how to monitor data usage, but I assume there’s a dashboard somewhere.

Thanks for the info. The plan looks great!

Even if the keep alive PIN is much more frequent and consumes more data you still come out ahead with all that extra data. I’ll play with the keep alive pin times once I get setup on their service.

They do have an online dashboard to monitor data usages.

Your package does come with 500 SMS text messages so I’m sure you can use them.

@rickkas7 Planning on trying out the ATT data package and I wanted to ask you what the best way is to try to figure out what the longest PING update rate should be when testing a 3rd party service like ATT IOT Data.

Alright, just following up on this in case others come looking and find this thread: The AT&T sims are working great. You will need to set your APN to ‘m2m.com.attz’.
OTA flashing works fine with the keepalive set to 30 seconds.

@apullin Thanks for reporting back about this. I plan on using their service in the future since it makes the most sense for my application.

Thanks for the APN info. I would have had to dig that up :thumbsup:

Have you tried Keepalive rates above 30 seconds? Just curious how close it can get to Particles Keepalive pings no less than every 23 mins. I know the pings cost 122 bytes data and the more pings per hour the more data that is used.

We use Global SIMs that work on GSM (3g) over the AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, Bell, Telus and Rogers in Canada. The data plan is pooled across as many SIMs as you wish, we’ve had units in trucks that travel throughout Canada and USA. and have switched with no problems from any carrier. It’s a “pay as you go” and will use the best “signal”.

I recall reading this, where it proposes a method for manually searching for the timeout value:
https://docs.particle.io/faq/particle-devices/electron-3rdparty-sims/electron/#about-keep-alive

Maybe I’ll make my intern do that and come back with results.

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@DarrenO What is the operator/service/reseller that you are using?

Eseye out of Austin Texas

Countries covered by their SIMs:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla,
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan,
Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda,
Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei
Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape
Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia,
Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia,
Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland,
France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana,
Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia,
Iraq, Ireland, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan,
Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon,
Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao,
Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania,
Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand,
Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau,
Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Plurinational State of Bolivia,
Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Reunion,
Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre
and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and
Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Tajikistan,
Thailand, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey,
Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, U.S. Virgin Islands, Uganda, Ukraine,
United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States,
Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City State, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Wallis and
Futuna, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

One concern with using ATT and Electron with this plan:

Given the shorter keepalive times, means more pings, which means you need to wake your Electron more often if it uses SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY. What if your project is solar-powered - this will affect battery consumption eh?

I guess you could always renegotiate with the cell tower every time you want to send data since you have more data, but renegotiation consumes additional power too.

And another regarding ATT:
Which countries work?

I’m pretty interested in Eseye! Look at all of those countries it supports. I can’t seem to find pricing @DarrenO. Have any ideas?

We only send a “heartbeat” once every 12 hours on the carrier network. PM me for email address of sales guy at Eseye

Are you guys using the Particle cloud?

From what I can tell Particles 23 mins between pings to keep the bidirectional UDP connection open was rare and many times longer than most other providers.

Are you saying that with Eseye you can maintain 2 way UDP connection for 12 hours after each cellular network Heartbeat ping?

If so that’s good news. How long have you been using them? Any issues?