u-blox has announced the SARA-R500E, its first cellular module with an embedded SIM chip (eSIM). Providing LTE-M connectivity, it is designed for size-constrained applications with high demands in terms of robustness and security, such as connected healthcare and asset trackers. The first version will provide out-of-the-box connectivity on a North American LTE-M cellular network.
The eSIM embedded in the device provides product developers and end-users important advantages. eSIMs are more robust than standard plastic SIMs and cannot be stolen or removed, improving the device's security. By doing away with the components needed to hold and connect plastic SIM cards, they facilitate smaller devices, lower the BOM and simplify manufacturing. Finally, it streamlines sourcing by providing the module, data plans, and the SIM from one house.
"SARA-R500E greatly simplifies logistics for device makers, as the eSIM is already integrated inside the module. Customers must activate connectivity and choose the data plan that best fits their needs via the u-blox Thingstream IoT service delivery platform. Particularly those customers that are too small to negotiate dedicated data plans with mobile network operators will benefit from a competitively priced offering," says Samuele Falcomer, product manager, Product Center Cellular at u-blox.
The module's eSIM does not need to be manually inserted by the end-user, enabling product developers to design tightly sealed devices that satisfy the demanding IP67 and IP68 criteria. This makes the module ideal for rugged IoT applications, including smart meters, surveillance cameras, and environmental sensors.