u-blox announced SARA-R500E, its first cellular module with an embedded SIM chip (eSIM). Offering LTE-M connectivity, the SARA-R500E is designed for applications with limited size and high demands on robustness and security, such as connected healthcare and asset tracking. The first variant of the module will offer out-of-the-box connectivity on a North American LTE-M cellular network.

eSIMs are increasingly making their way into devices offering cellular connectivity. Today, most such devices, including the majority of smartphones, still have a plastic SIM card that contains all the attributes and functions necessary to connect the device to the cellular network. Like the plastic SIM cards they are meant to replace, eSIMs come with a profile that allows devices to connect to a specific mobile network operator.

The eSIM built into the SARA-R500E offers product developers and end users important benefits. eSIMs are stronger than standard plastic SIM cards and cannot be stolen or removed, increasing device security. By eliminating the components needed to hold and connect plastic SIM cards, they enable smaller devices, reduce material costs and simplify manufacturing. Finally, the SARA-R500E streamlines procurement by offering the module, data plans and SIM card from one house.

The fact that the eSIM of the SARA-R500E module does not need to be manually inserted by the end user allows product developers to design tightly sealed devices that meet the demanding IP67 and IP68 criteria. This makes the module ideal for sustainable IoT applications such as smart meters, surveillance cameras and environmental sensors.

The module also offers access MQTT Anywhere on u-blox a service that reduces bandwidth requirements for cellular data transfer, saving costs and energy. u-blox IoT Location-as-a-service a portfolio including AssistNow for real-time GNSS assist data and CellLocate for cellular network-based positioning is also available.

The SARA-R500E is pin-to-pin compatible with all other modules in the SARA family and uses the SARA-R5 AT command interface, making it easy to drop the SARA-R500E into existing designs. The first samples of the SARA-R500E will be available in September.

Cellular module with eSIM designed for size-constrained applications

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