Insights & Resources6 min read

Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless for IoT Connectivity

How Telnyx and Sierra Wireless compare for IoT connectivity in terms of features, costs, and developer experience.

Risa Takenaka
Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless for IoT connectivity
The first step in getting your IoT project up and running is to choose a connectivity and IoT SIM provider. But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down the best partner for your business. To make your life a little easier, we’ve compiled an in-depth comparison of two of those options, Telnyx and Sierra Wireless, in terms of features, costs, and developer experience to give you the information you need to make a decision.
To start, Telnyx and Sierra Wireless operate in different spaces within the telecommunications landscape. At its core, Telnyx is a CPaaS provider with certified carrier status in 25 countries. We provide a complete suite of communication services through our APIs, which allow businesses to embed voice, messaging, fax, WebRTC, networking, video, and wireless capabilities into their applications. Sierra Wireless, on the other hand, mainly focuses on providing hardware to enterprises, and their IoT SIMs have limited compatibility with non-Sierra Wireless devices.
As part of these offerings, both Telnyx and Sierra Wireless offer cellular IoT SIM cards and global wireless coverage. Let’s take a look at how these offerings stack up!

Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless Cellular IoT Feature Comparison

Telnyx and Sierra Wireless both offer IoT SIMs and connectivity, but there are a few key areas where they differ. While Sierra Wireless’s standard SIMs only connect to a single network in the US, Telnyx offers multiple roaming options with automatic network failover. This redundancy is critical to ensuring that your SIMs stay online, even when a carrier has an outage or weak coverage in a given area. Telnyx Wireless comes with out-of-the-box features to give you granular control over your SIM connections, allowing for more customization based on your specific IoT needs.
Let’s take a closer look at the important features, and what they mean for organizations implementing IoT solutions.

Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless: Cellular IoT Connectivity Features
TelnyxSierra Wireless
Usage Based ActivationYesYes
Over-the-air (OTA) steeringYesNot available on their standard SIM
Automatic Network FailoverYesNot available on their standard SIM
Private LTEYesYes
Public IPYesNo
Suspend SIMsYesNo
Session ReportingYesYes
International RoamingYesNot available on their standard SIM

Key Wireless Cellular IoT Features Explained

Usage Based Activation for IoT SIM Cards

If you ever need to deploy a fleet of SIMs that will remain inactive for multiple billing periods, but need to be enabled on demand, Telnyx has you covered! Telnyx SIMs can be deployed and kept in an inactive “standby” state at a reduced monthly recurring charge ($0.20 vs $1.50 for an active device). As soon as 1MB of data usage is reached, the normal monthly recurring charge is triggered. This capability helps automate your cost saving measures, and takes away the need to manually activate inactive devices that may already be out in the field. Here’s how easy it is to activate this feature in the Mission Control Portal:


OTA Steering

Organizations building IoT solutions expect their devices to stay connected at all times, automatically switching between carriers when one network fails. While Sierra Wireless provides a premium “Smart Connectivity” SIM that connects to multiple carriers globally, this option is not available on their standard SIMs. Furthermore, their “Smart Connectivity” SIMs are only compatible with Sierra Wireless devices, which greatly limits usability. Their standard SIMs are US roaming only, and have access to one pre-selected network (Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile.)
In comparison, all Telnyx SIMs are connected globally to 200+ roaming partners around 60 countries across the world, with automatic carrier switching so you don’t have to worry about the complexity of managing multiple carriers. Telnyx SIMs intelligently select the highest quality available network, but users are also able to set specific network preferences in real-time via over-the-air (OTA) updates using either the Mission Control Portal or our APIs.
You can learn more about how to update the network preferences on Telnyx Wireless SIMs in the Telnyx Developer Center.

Private LTE networks

The number one barrier to IoT adoption is security. 86% of enterprises using IoT say their IoT deployments have been delayed or constrained by security concerns, and 50% cite security as their biggest challenge to successful IoT implementation.
IoT data is typically routed through the public internet, which makes it vulnerable to a wide surface area of attack from malicious actors. Private LTE networks are an ideal solution to address these concerns, connecting your devices securely and directly to your corporate network, bypassing the public internet altogether.
While Sierra Wireless offers private LTE networks, it’s a cumbersome process. With Telnyx, this is a self-service that you can set up easily in the Mission Control Portal or via API for frictionless enterprise security.

Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless Developer Experience Comparison

While Telnyx and Sierra Wireless both offer IoT connectivity, one difference is the level of self-service functionality that is available with each provider. Telnyx Wireless was built to allow businesses to move fast and have granular control over their IoT SIM configurations, so that they can build out applications to their spec without waiting for assistance.
That’s why Telnyx offers a wealth of resources for developers, and provides a simple, easy-to-use interface that allows you to configure everything about your IoT application. In contrast, Sierra Wireless is hardware centered, more enterprise facing, and offers connectivity and self service as two separate products.

Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless: Developer Experience Comparison
TelnyxSierra Wireless
Self-service PortalAvailable to all Telnyx customers Add-on, purchased separately
API ControlFull programmatic configurability via our RESTful API Limited API configurability
Developer CommunityAccess to technical support through a dedicated developer Slack channelNot available

Here’s a deeper look at the Telnyx Mission Control Portal, where you can purchase and provision your SIMs in a click of a button:


Telnyx vs. Sierra Wireless Pricing Comparison

Transparent, flexible pricing is important for any business that’s getting their IoT solutions up and running. IoT connectivity providers usually charge for both SIM cards and data usage, which is the case for both Telnyx and Sierra Wireless. Telnyx offers lower costs for both of these components, because they have their own SIM cards, cutting out the middleman and passing the cost savings to customers. In comparison, Sierra Wireless sells whitelabeled SIMs owned by T-Mobile, AT&T, and other MNOs.
Telnyx has a single, pay-as-you-go plan for globally-connected SIMs, at a market leading price starting at 1 cent / MB. The data is broken down based on geographical zones, so you know exactly how much you’ll be paying based on where your IoT devices are deployed.
Sierra Wireless prices their data plans in bundles which start at 65 cents / 1 MB (Yes, that’s 65x what Telnyx charges for the first MB!). They also charge overage fees if your monthly usage exceeds the chosen bundle, which can make it difficult to scale and requires strict planning of data usage.

Telnyx vs. Twilio Cellular IoT Connectivity Pricing
TelnyxSierra Wireless
SIM card$1.00 per SIM$2.00 per SIM
Cost per active device$2.00 per monthNot Publicly Available
Data usageZone-based data plans: Zone 1 $0.01/MB
Zone 2 $0.03/MB
Zone 3 $0.06/MB
Zone 4 $0.10/MB

Note: Zone 1 includes the US, the UK and EU countries.

Global high-volume monthly data plans (Only available for their Smart Connectivity SIMs):
$0.65/1 MB
$1.05/5 MB
$1.35/10MB
$2.25/25MB
$3.75/50MB
$4.60/100MB
$6/250MB
$13.50/1GB

Flexible data plan for Smart Connectivity SIMs:
$0.60/month + $0.15/MB overage

US only high-volume monthly data plans:
$0.65 /1MB
$1.05 /5MB
$1.35 /10MB
$2.25/25MB
Pricing ModelPay-as-you-goData Bundle Commitment
Overage fees for exceeding chosen data bundle 
Choose bundle at time of activation 
Overage fees are calculated in 1KB increments
Cost control mechanismsUsage Based ActivationNone
Minimum Engagement PeriodNone12 month contract
Early termination fees apply
Now that you know how Telnyx and Sierra Wireless compare, you have the information you need to choose the right IoT connectivity provider. If Telnyx is your choice, getting started is easy — it takes a few clicks to order your Wireless SIM card today.
Have questions? Our sales team is always available to help.
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