We get asked a lot ‘what SIM should I use’ and ‘will X-brand SIM work?’ with our Alpha GSM boards. Well the simple answer is any apart from 3 mobile.
Our board is a quad band board (http://www.adventcontrols.co.uk/gsm-gate-opener.html). In the UK and Europe (indeed most of the world) the ‘2G’ standard GSM frequencies are 900/1800MHz and established networks, such as Vodafone, O2, Orange all have the infrastructure to support these bands. The reason ‘3 Mobile’ doesn’t work with this type of equipment is because they never invested in it and just went straight to the 3G frequency of 2100MHz thus limiting their compatibility to 3G only equipment. ‘3’ is the only network which does not have a 900/1800MHz infrastructure.
In the Americas they had a slightly different set of frequencies at 850MHz and 1900MHz making older ‘dual band’ equipment incompatible with the rest of the world. Quad band products like ours mean no matter where you are in the world you will be able to find a network to support our products.
The final word on frequencies is that the 4G network operates at 800MHz and 2600MHz and if an operator started up who only offered 4G compatibility they would also not work with traditional GSM gate openers and auto-dialers (and all but the very latest phones!).
Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile all own 2G network infrastructure and also the licenses to operate on these frequencies so any of these networks will be compatible with our products – even if they offer 3G services. The board will select the 900/1800MHz frequency from the SIM card and find the network using one of these bands.
Then we have the MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that resell the major network’s products as their own. These are companies like Virgin Media (T-Mobile), Talk-Mobile, Vectone (EE which is in turn T-mobile and Orange) and so on. You can often find a better deal using these MVNOs than you can through the major networks directly.
There is one MVNO you should avoid and they are called ‘shebang’ – they exclusively use the Three Mobile 3G only network!
Up to now we have been recommending Vectone mobile simply because they provide good value and also offer a £1 per month contract with up to 50 minutes. You can find this deal on their website at:
If you have any queries please get in touch.