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What Type of SIM Card Does a GPS Tracker Require?

Understanding GPS Tracker SIM Card Requirements

GPS trackers require a specific type of SIM card to function properly. These devices need to communicate their location data to a central server or app, which means they need a SIM card that can provide voice, text, and data capabilities. Choosing the right SIM card is critical for ensuring your GPS tracker works as intended and can reliably transmit location updates.

What Type of SIM Card Does a GPS Tracker Require

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore the different SIM card requirements for GPS trackers, the types of SIM cards that are suitable, and how to set up and manage your tracker’s SIM card to ensure optimal performance. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the importance of using the correct SIM card and the steps to take to ensure seamless GPS tracking.

Types of SIM Cards Suitable for GPS Trackers

When it comes to GPS trackers, you’ll need a standard mobile SIM card that supports voice, text, and data functionality. This is the same type of SIM card you would use in a smartphone. GPS trackers require a SIM card with “voice, text and data, same as you would get for your mobile phone. DO NOT USE DATA ONLY SIMCARD.

Some examples of suitable SIM card types for GPS trackers include:

  • Prepaid SIM cards: These offer a flexible, pay-as-you-go option that can be a cost-effective choice for GPS tracking. Prepaid SIM cards allow you to purchase credit upfront and only pay for the usage you require.
  • Postpaid SIM cards: Traditional monthly subscription SIM cards from major telecom providers can also be used with GPS trackers. These plans typically offer a set amount of voice, text, and data allowance for a fixed monthly fee.
  • Shared SIM cards: Some providers allow you to use the same SIM card across multiple devices, including your GPS tracker and your personal mobile phone. This can be a convenient option if you already have an existing mobile plan.

The key is to ensure the SIM card you choose has the necessary voice, text, and data capabilities to support the full functionality of your GPS tracker.

Voice, Text, and Data SIM Cards Explained

To understand why a GPS tracker requires a SIM card with voice, text, and data capabilities, let’s break down the purpose of each component:

Voice: The voice functionality allows the GPS tracker to make and receive phone calls, which can be useful for features like emergency calling or remote communication with the device. For example, some GPS trackers may allow you to call the device and listen to its surroundings or receive incoming calls from the tracker in certain situations.

Text: The text (SMS) capability enables the tracker to send and receive text messages, which can be used for alerts, notifications, and other communication purposes. Many GPS trackers will send SMS alerts to designated phone numbers when certain events occur, such as the device entering or leaving a specific area or experiencing low battery levels.

Data: The data component is crucial for the tracker to transmit its location data to the central server or app. This allows the GPS tracking system to monitor the device’s movements and provide real-time location updates. Without data connectivity, the GPS tracker would be unable to report its location and travel history.

Without all three of these capabilities – voice, text, and data – the GPS tracker would be unable to function as intended, as it would lack the necessary communication channels to report its location and status, receive alerts, or enable remote control features.

Avoiding Data-Only SIM Cards for GPS Tracking

It’s important to avoid using a data-only SIM card with your GPS tracker, as these types of SIM cards lack the voice and text functionalities required for full GPS tracking capabilities.

Data-only SIM cards are typically designed for devices that only require internet connectivity, such as tablets or mobile hotspots. They do not support voice or text messaging, which are essential for GPS trackers to communicate their location and status, as well as receive alerts and notifications.

Using a data-only SIM card with a GPS tracker would result in the device being unable to transmit its location data or receive any alerts or notifications. This would effectively render the GPS tracking functionality useless, as you would not be able to monitor the device’s movements or receive important updates.

Prepaid SIM Card Options for GPS Trackers

Prepaid SIM cards can be a convenient and cost-effective option for GPS trackers. These SIM cards allow you to pay for usage as you go, without the need for a long-term contract or monthly subscription.

Prepaid SIM card costs can be as low as “$5.00 to $7.00 per month” for standard GPS tracker usage. This makes prepaid SIM cards an attractive choice for those who want to minimize the ongoing costs associated with their GPS tracking system.

When selecting a prepaid SIM card for your GPS tracker, look for options that offer:

  • Voice, text, and data capabilities (as discussed earlier)
  • Longer-lasting credit or “Longer Life” plans
  • Automatic top-up or credit replenishment features
  • Competitive data rates for GPS tracking usage

These features will help ensure your GPS tracker remains connected and operational, even if you forget to manually top up the SIM card’s credit. Additionally, longer-lasting credit plans and automatic top-up options can provide peace of mind and minimize the risk of service interruptions due to expired credit.

Estimating Monthly SIM Card Costs for Tracking

The monthly cost of the SIM card used with your GPS tracker can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Data usage: GPS trackers typically have a low data consumption, but more frequent location updates or additional features like alerts and notifications can increase data usage and costs. For example, if you configure your tracker to report its location every minute, it will consume more data than if it reports every hour.
  • Voice and text usage: While GPS trackers may not use a significant amount of voice and text, any additional usage beyond the tracker’s basic functionality can add to the monthly costs. If you frequently call or send text messages to the tracker, these charges will accumulate.
  • SIM card plan: The specific prepaid or postpaid plan you choose for your SIM card will impact the monthly costs. Longer-lasting or unlimited plans may be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if you have higher data usage requirements.

For standard usage, [the GPS tracker] consumes a very small amount of data and can be very low monthly cost. However, they also note that “if you set up more warning and SMS alerts on your tracker, then this will consume more and result in increased monthly costs.”

To estimate your monthly SIM card costs for GPS tracking, consider your expected usage patterns and research the available SIM card plans from your preferred provider. This will help you determine the most cost-effective option for your needs. Additionally, you can monitor your actual usage and adjust your plan accordingly if you find that your initial estimates were inaccurate.

Activating and Setting Up Your GPS Tracker SIM

When you first receive your GPS tracker, you’ll need to activate the SIM card and ensure it’s properly set up for use with the device. This process is crucial to ensure your tracker can communicate effectively and provide reliable location data.

To set up your GPS tracker SIM card:

  1. Activate the SIM card: Follow the instructions provided by your SIM card provider to activate the SIM card and ensure it has credit available. This typically involves completing an online activation process or contacting the provider’s customer service.
  2. Insert the SIM card: Once activated, carefully insert the SIM card into the designated slot on your GPS tracker device, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Configure the tracker: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to configure the tracker and connect it to the SIM card. This may involve entering the SIM card’s details, such as the phone number or APN settings, into the tracker’s software or mobile app.
  4. Test the functionality: After completing the setup process, test the tracker’s functionality to ensure it can successfully transmit location data and receive any necessary alerts or notifications. You may need to wait a few minutes for the tracker to establish a connection and begin reporting its location.

It’s important to complete this setup process correctly to ensure your GPS tracker is fully operational and can reliably communicate with the tracking system. If you encounter any issues during the setup, refer to the manufacturer’s documentation or contact their support team for assistance.

Managing SIM Card Credit and Automatic Top-Up

To prevent your GPS tracker from losing connectivity due to a lack of SIM card credit, it’s recommended to set up automatic top-up or credit replenishment features. This will ensure that your tracker remains active and continues to report its location, even if you forget to manually top up the credit.

This can be done by contacting your SIM card provider and enabling an automatic top-up feature, where the provider will automatically add more credit to your SIM card when the balance reaches a certain threshold. Many providers offer this service, allowing you to set the top-up amount and frequency based on your usage patterns.

Alternatively, you can set up periodic manual top-ups by adding a recurring calendar reminder to your phone or setting up automatic payments through the SIM card provider’s website or mobile app.

Keeping your GPS tracker’s SIM card consistently funded will ensure uninterrupted tracking and prevent any lapses in location data reporting. This is especially important if you rely on the tracker for critical applications, such as monitoring valuable assets or tracking the movements of loved ones.

Troubleshooting: No Credit Means No Tracking

One of the most critical aspects of managing your GPS tracker’s SIM card is ensuring there is always sufficient credit available.

If the SIM card runs out of credit, the GPS tracker will be unable to transmit its location data or receive any alerts or notifications. This effectively renders the tracking functionality useless until the SIM card is recharged.

To avoid this issue, be proactive in monitoring your SIM card’s credit balance and setting up automatic top-up mechanisms, as mentioned in the previous section. Regularly checking the SIM card’s status and taking prompt action to replenish the credit can help ensure your GPS tracker remains operational and provides uninterrupted location data.

Additionally, consider setting up low credit alerts or notifications from your SIM card provider, which can warn you when your credit balance is running low. This will give you ample time to top up the credit before it runs out completely.

By following these best practices and staying vigilant about your SIM card’s credit status, you can minimize the risk of losing GPS tracking capabilities due to a lack of credit.


Choosing the right SIM card is a critical step in ensuring the proper functioning of your GPS tracker. By understanding the requirements for voice, text, and data capabilities, and selecting a suitable SIM card option, you can ensure reliable location tracking and uninterrupted communication with your device.

Remember to avoid data-only SIM cards, as they lack the necessary voice and text functionalities required for GPS tracking. Instead, opt for prepaid or postpaid SIM cards that offer voice, text, and data services, and consider shared SIM card options if available.

Additionally, be mindful of your monthly SIM card costs and usage patterns, and take advantage of automatic top-up features or set reminders to prevent service interruptions due to expired credit.

By following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive blog post, you can confidently set up and manage your GPS tracker’s SIM card, ensuring seamless tracking and peace of mind for your valuable assets or loved ones.


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