Cost-effective data plans pave the way for Satellite IoT connectivity

1 March 2022

5 min read

With an expected 30+ billion connected IoT devices by 2025, IoT is now a fundamental component of both government policy and corporate strategy. However, if operations within organisations are to harness the power and sophistication of IoT, connectivity must extend around the globe. Equally, IoT connectivity needs to be affordable and accessible – but the only alternative to wireless networks has been Satellite IoT (SatIoT), at a price point that has not traditionally been justifiable by the vast majority of businesses or use cases. Until now.

Systems integrators, VARs, and CIOs can now utilise Astrocast’s cost-effective, bidirectional SatIoT service. Alongside reliable connectivity, our service enables operations teams within organisations to completely benefit from efficient technology planning, configuration, and implementation. Our dynamic, degressive and competitive data plans allow organisations to reap the benefits that IoT promises the world. 

Satellite IoT Context

Before end users can connect to our SatIoT service, they need to ensure that they install the correct technology into their assets and infrastructure. This allows their systems and applications to connect to our network and transmit data.

This means that they need to purchase and integrate an appropriate combination of our Astronode S communication module paired up with our Astronode Patch Antenna, or our Astronode S+ with a built-in antenna, to gain access to our network.

Satellite IoT Data Plans: dynamic, automatic, cost-effective and degressive rates

Once these devices are installed within their applications, connectivity to our SatIoT network is straightforward. Astrocast offers minimum contract lengths that vary between three to five years, to cover long-term operations with no activation fees for the modules accessing our network.

Typically, it can be challenging for customers to track the number of IoT devices and modules placed in the field, meaning organisations generally don’t have a strong understanding of what technology is becoming active and ready to transmit data. Our approach comes with more effective planning and configuration options to make managing this challenge easier.

With modules that can be automatically activated when they start transmitting data, operations teams have greater transparency and control over devices, not just in terms of usage but cost too. For example, users only pay subscription charges for modules that go into an activated operational state.

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For now, we offer a combination of five standard plans, adapted to an expected volume of data transmission by modules that are in operation, covering 1, 5, 15, 30 or 60 KB per month per module. No fee is applied for switching between those standard plans, allowing users to control their spent more easily.

Automatic selection of the most cost-effective price plan

What also makes our pricing model highly competitive is that Astrocast’s technology automatically selects the best – most cost-effective – standard plan at the end of each month and applies this to customers’ billing. Therefore, customers can benefit from moving between plans month-to-month, without needing to invest time in calculating the usage of different end-users (modules) in different industries. Again, importantly, switching plans is free.

For more operational and cost efficiency, data used is pooled and shared across modules, so that data volume not used and included in a subscription charge can benefit another module, that has not used its entire allowance. This flexibility means customers don’t have to pay for more data than they’re actually using. 

In addition, our pricing model offers a maintenance plan for adapting to the operational profile of end-users that might have seasonal activity. On a monthly basis, customers can easily switch manually to a cheaper plan with no data volume (usage) included, for modules temporarily stopping their operations. The module keeps the capability to transmit data and will automatically move to a standard plan as soon as it is needed, again with no extra re-activation fee. This provides organisations the flexibility to accommodate any seasonal changes, such as soil moisture measurement during off-seasons or stop tracking a container when it is in the warehouse.  

The other key point to make is that our monthly airtime rates for data have been set up on a degressive scale. So, consuming higher volumes of data generally results in more cost-effective rates.

Installing modules now and activating and transmitting data later?

One of the beauties of our system is that modules can be registered and activated at a later date for free. There are typically four module states:

  • Registered state: waiting for entry into operation and an automated activation
  • Active: normal state, using data
  • Suspended state: using maintenance plans
  • Terminated state – no longer used

When registered modules are activated, they will follow a degressive pricing structure and scale. From then on, switching between standard active plans is automatically managed by Astrocast. Switching to/from maintenance states of use can be adjusted free of charge too, according to customer needs – all of which is managed through a sophisticated back-end mobile device management system (either our cloud-based portal or through connecting various APIs to manage modules).

In situations where operations need to be ceased, Astrocast can support the termination of a device operation. For instance, when a device might be compromised, or has been damaged or stolen; an end-user can turn the module into a terminated state with no deactivation fee.

Taking IoT Assets further with Astrocast

Our pricing model allows customers to take advantage of the most cost-effective data plans and technology for their IoT applications and operations with ease. This includes technology configuration and implementation. Additionally, switching between data connectivity states – e.g. active or suspended – is free, and our dynamic pricing plan means customers only pay for the data they use at the end of each month, with a volume discount rate applied.

If you’d like to learn more about how our modules and dynamic, automatic, and cost-effective data plans can support your IoT operations and benefit your business, check our Astropreneur Programs and get in touch today.