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Hey guys! First off I want to apologize if this is in the wrong place. I'm not sure where to drop it and this seemed like the best place!

I'm trying to come up with a way to send GPS co-ordinates to a IoT web platform like thingsboard, but in the easiest way possible and that would be without a SIM card.

I recently purchased a board which does just this, you buy it, power it up and you enter the serial number in a web based IoT dashboard and it comes online and finds the device. Now, the thing that really has me confused is the subscription costs, coming in at the lowest of $4.99/mo here in New Zealand.

Now, how can we send GPS data over the mobile network at such low costs, and without a SIM.

So I did some digging and came up with eSIMs. This could be using an eSIM to connect to the tower and use GPRS.

The board has only one antenna, and it appears to be a quadband GPRS antenna. I'm still scratching my head as to where the GPS antenna is unless its above the GPS micro somehow.

I've attached photos of the board in question.

I guess my questions are

1. Do the SIM868 or similar modules come with eSIM support and would I need to run a second microcontroller to achieve this?
2. Can the SIM868 (or similar) be programmed directly to connect to a mobile carrier via GPRS and eSIM.
3. How are the subscription fees so low? All I can put this down to so far is that they have purchased a large say 10GB or 100GB plan and each device is just using a portion of that data? Since the data transfer would be so low. Your thoughts?

Thanks in advance for the answers.

I really would like to get my head around how this is achieved.


Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
The SIM868 has external SIM connections, but the SIM itself could easily be an eSIM mounted on the board somewhere, likewise the aerial could be a track on the board.

As for subscription?, I don't see the problem? - it's NOT a domestic subscription, and presumably is only GPRS (and perhaps TXT as well?), unlikely to give voice calls. The SIM's we use at work are like that, and as data usage is very low there's no need for subscriptions to be high - in our case it's only 0.10 Euros per megabyte, and that's for a roaming SIM that works anywhere in the world.


Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Here in Aus, we can get a 50MB plan for 1$ (50p) per month. Not sure how I'd use it but it's there if I need it.


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