Japan’s Soracom launches SIM cards and services for IoT service operators in US

“Soracom Air” Sim Card for US
Image credit: Soracom

See the original story in Japanese.

Japan’s Soracom announced on Wednesday that it will commence full-scale service development of its mobile communication / management platform for Internet of Things (IoT) called Soracom Air in the US. US-based business operators can purchase data communication SIM cards at the US Amazon.com site from a single card unit and can use Soracom Air plus all of the other services in 120 countries / regions including the US although these have until now been provided only in Japan.

In the US, users can use the AT&T and T-Mobile network (2G and 3G is available), and have to pay $5 for each SIM card (postage will be charged for Amazon) as the initial cost. Data communication fee is $0.08 by 1MB but this has volume discount settings.

As an IoT application using Soracom, the Kakaxi farm-monitoring device transmits on-farm information to consumers through time-lapse video and farm-data illustrations.
Image credit: Kakaxi

The basic fee is free for the first year (conventionally charged before starting communication), and is $0.06 per month or $1.8 per contiuous-use month after starting communication, which is cheaper than one set use in Japan. According to CEO of Soracom Ken Tamagawa, the aim of the free basic fee before starting communication is to reduce the risk of keeping a large number of devices in stock as inserted SIM cards.

These charge settings all differ between the service in Japan and for global areas, and will be handled simultaneously (users are allowed to use global SIM cards in Japan but will be charged according to the global charging setting).

The firm plans to start selling global SIM cards in various countries around the world one by one.

Data visualization service “Harvest”

The “Harvest” user console screen
Image credit: Soracom

Soracom also revealed another new service called Harvest on that day. This service provides accumulation / visualization of communication data; conventionally, user operators have to construct servers or dashboard by themselves in order to grasp data communication conditions of IoT devices utilized on the SORACOM platform.

Harvest enables quick and easy use (by the way, Soracom names its option services in alphabetical order as with Air, Beam and Canal, and H is used as the capital letter this time).

By setting the use of Harvest via user console and by sending data from IoT devices to designated end-points, the service accumulates data from each device such as location or temperature and visualizes them into graphs.

Since the acquired data is saved together with SIM card’s ID, users can know when and which device sent the data. These data are saved for 40 days and the data communication protocol supports HTTP, TCP and UDP.

Usage fee costs 5 yen per day for each SIM card, and charges 0.004 yen per request when the number of data writing exceeds 2,000 in a day.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy