Rate this page:

First Steps: Order and Register Programmable Wireless SIMs

This guide will walk you through the process of ordering your first Programmable Wireless SIM and preparing it for use.

Once you’ve performed these simple but essential setup tasks, you’ll be ready to try out your SIM in an IoT device: we have a series of guides to help you try out Twilio’s seamless global cellular network and begin to prototype your own IoT hardware.

But that’s for later — the very first step is to obtain a Programmable Wireless SIM and get it ready for use.

Order a Programmable Wireless SIM

You request Programmable Wireless SIMs using the Twilio Console — just go to Orders to login, scroll down to Programmable Wireless and select the number of SIMs you require:

Order Programmable Wireless SIMs from the Console

Trial account credit cannot be used to purchase Programmable Wireless SIMs. You must first upgrade your Twilio account before you can access the order page. To do so, visit Billing in the Console, and enter your payment details.

For your first order, you should opt for a SIM Starter Pack — or the Narrowband SIM Starter Pack if you want to try out our NB-IoT connectivity. These contain three multi-size SIM cards of the appropriate type which you can add to your own account or share with colleagues and collaborators.

What’s the difference between a SIM Starter Pack, a Multi-Size SIM Card, and an Embedded SIM Pack?

SIM Starter Pack

Each SIM Starter Pack contains three multi-size SIM cards (2FF/mini, 3FF/micro, and 4FF/nano). These SIMs are not pre-registered to a particular Twilio account and come with registration instructions so that they can be easily shared with other developers on your team.

You can order Starter Packs with either Programmable Wireless SIMs for 2G/3G/4G use, or Narrowband SIMs which give you access to T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network (US only).

The SIMs that come in a Starter Pack are identical to those you would receive if you ordered the Multi-Size SIM Cards. The only difference is that they do not come pre-registered to your account so you can share them across your team.

Multi-Size SIM Card

A multi-size SIM (2FF/mini, 3FF/micro, and 4FF/nano) card for either Programmable Wireless (2G/3G/4G) or Narrowband (T-Mobile’s US-only NB-IoT network) that is pre-registered to your Twilio account and ready to configure when the order is shipped. The minimum order quantity is 10.

Optionally, you may order a Programmable Wireless multi-size SIM card with Trust Onboard.

Embedded SIM Embedded SIMs are solderable SIMs (MFF2) that come in factory sealed reels of 10, 100 or 1000. They arrive pre-registered to your Twilio account and ready to configure when the order is shipped.

Ordering and activating a single SIM is a beginner’s process; when you’re ready to deploy SIMs to device fleets, you’ll do that through the Console and activate them there too. More details in our Programmable Wireless > Advanced Topics section in the navigation panel on the left.

Prepare a Programmable Wireless SIM for use

Which of the following steps you need to follow depends on which Programmable Wireless SIM you ordered:

  • If you ordered a SIM Starter Pack, start at Step 1.
  • If you ordered Multi-Size SIM Cards or Embedded SIMs, they will be pre-registered to your account so all you need do is to configure each of the SIMs:
    1. Go to Internet of Things > Programmable Wireless > SIMs.
    2. Click on any SIM that you wish to configure.
    3. Enter a name in the Unique Name field.
    4. Click the Choose to the right of the RATE PLAN field. Select an existing Rate Plan, or click Manage my Rate Plans to create a new Rate Plan. For the latter, follow the guide Understanding Rate Plans for assistance, and come back to the SIM’s details page when you’re done.
    5. Select Active under STATUS.
    6. Click Save.
    7. Jump to Use your Programmable Wireless SIM.

1. Enter the Registration Code

  1. Go to Internet of Things > Programmable Wireless > SIMs.
  2. Click on the Register a SIM link at the top right.
  3. Enter the SIM’s registration code:
    Enter the SIM’s registration code
  4. Click the Register SIM button.

2. Choose a Unique Name

When the SIM is registered to your account, an Activate a SIM page will appear. The first thing to do is choose a unique name for your SIM. This is a convenient way to identify your SIM in the Console and through the Programmable Wireless API.

  1. Enter a friendly name in the Unique Name field:
    Enter a friendly name for the SIM
  2. Click Continue.

3. Create or choose a Rate Plan

A Rate Plan defines the capabilities and sets the restrictions applied to each SIM associated with it. You can add a new Rate Plan to your account, or select an existing Rate Plan. If your account doesn’t have any Rate Plans yet, create one now.

Some of the following options are not enabled for Narrowband SIMs. Narrowband SIMs only work in the US on T-Mobile, so roaming options are not enabled. Data and messaging are pre-set for you, and the data limits are determined by your choice of Data Metering Plan.

For more details on the specifics of Narrowband SIM plans, please see Narrowband: The Twilio SIM for Massive IoT.

  1. Click the blue + button to open the Create a Rate Plan wizard. Click Continue after each step.
    1. Indicate whether the SIM will be used only in the US or around the world:
      Indicate whether the SIM will be used only in the US or around the world
    2. Choose the services you want the SIM to support:
      Choose the services you want the SIM to support
    3. Select your SIM’s Data Metering. Check out this page to learn more about the options available:
      Select your SIM Data Metering plan
    4. Set your SIM’s monthly data cap (in megabytes per month):
      Set your monthly SIM data cap
    5. Give your new Rate Plan a friendly name:
      Give your new Rate Plan a friendly name
    6. Click Save to finish.
  2. When you’re back at the Activate a SIM page, click Continue.

You can find more detailed information about Rate Plans in Understanding Rate Plans.

4. Activate your SIM

To complete the registration, you need to activate your SIM.

  1. Click Activate Now:
    click to activate the SIM

Your SIM’s activation will be added to the queue. You should see it move to the Active state almost immediately:

See the SIM move to the Active state

5. Set your device’s APN

Whichever IoT development hardware you’re using, you’ll need to set the Access Point Name (APN) it uses to establish cellular connectivity.

To do so follow these instructions.

Use your Programmable Wireless SIM

Your Programmable Wireless SIM is now ready to be used as the basis for your IoT device’s cellular connectivity. Here are some guides to help you start:

Rate this page:

Need some help?

We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd by visiting Twilio's Community Forums or browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.

Thank you for your feedback!

We are always striving to improve our documentation quality, and your feedback is valuable to us. Please select the reason(s) for your feedback or provide additional information about how we can improve:

Sending your feedback...
🎉 Thank you for your feedback!
Something went wrong. Please try again.

Thanks for your feedback!

Refer us and get $10 in 3 simple steps!

Step 1

Get link

Get a free personal referral link here

Step 2

Give $10

Your user signs up and upgrade using link

Step 3

Get $10

1,250 free SMSes
OR 1,000 free voice mins
OR 12,000 chats
OR more