Questions about MKR NB 1500 BOARD

hello everyone ,

I'll be using arduino mkr nb 1500 in a project . i live in tunisia and i think we don't have NB-IOT & LTE-cat m1 connectivity here .

A standard 4G/H+ Data sim card for phone can be used with this board ?

Thank you.

No, this board is meant for Narrowband communication on specific LTE bands (LTE's Cat M1/NB1 bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28.)

You should envision the MKR GSM 1400. This one will work with a standard consumer SIM card (using GSM / 3G networks)

Thank you for your quick reply . the thing that made me ask this question is that we have an offer from one of our operators through this link M2M Orange Tunisie: Offres data Business M2M they provide special IOT sim cards , does this work on the mkr nb 1500 ?
Another thing , can you please explain to me how can we have access to LTE M1 or NB-IOT ? because in my country , we have 4G LTE Frequency Bands B3 (1800 MHz) and B20 (800 MHz) , no chance to use the mkr nb 1500 ??

thank you very much sir .

The IoT M2M offer from OBS (Orange Business Services) has a wide range of connectivity solutions from basic 2G, 3G & 4G to LoRaWAN to LTE-M (see Gamme IoT M2M | Orange Business Services).

So what they offer in Tunisia as "M2M Data" might just be 3G or 4G. You would need to ask them if they have support for LTE-M (I think it might only be EU area + Switzerland + Andorre)

I think North Africa uses B8(900) and B20(800) so both would be supported by the mkr nb 1500. (in Europe we have B3 (1800) on top of those 2)

You have to be a company to procure such a SIM though, so most makers/tinkerers don't have access...

thank you @J-M-L

No worries, the MKR 1500 works with "Standard consumer" SIM cards.
In the examples for the MKRNB lib is a sketch to choose the mobile technology.
All the details (Bands etc.) you can find on the u-blox for SARA R410 (Gloabl edition) tech specs.

have you tried? even the library you mention states

This library enables an Arduino MKR NB 1500 board to connect to the internet over a NarrowBand IoT or LTE Cat M1 network

LTE-M (aka LTE Cat-M1) is Long-Term Evolution for Machines. My understanding is the consumer SIM card do not include the necessary features/credentials to get access to the capabilities and you need a special contract.

Yes i did. With SIMs from Aldi Talk (Prepaid), Swisscom, Lebara, ThingsMobile (Special IoT SIM).

From the tech specs: SARA-R410M-02B LTE Cat M1 / NB1 module,
mainly designed for operation in LTE bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 20, 25, 28

So i would say as long as the MKR1500 modem can log in a network and you have a valid contract i see no problems with SIM. You can send data, send sms. etc. I2S is not soldered on the MKR1500 so voice is obsolete anyway.
I think what you misunderstood is that the SARA R410 can also handle "reduced" Machine SIM cards (Only NB for example) but with consumer SIM cards you can do it all.

OK this has not been my experience. I tried with my Orange consumer card and nothing worked

I selected both networks in the configuration tool

********************************************************************************
This sketch allows you to select your preferred
4G Narrowband Radio Access Technology (RAT).

You can choose among CAT-M1, NB-IoT or a combination of both.

Selecting JUST ONE technology will speed up the modem's network registration A LOT!

The chosen configuration will be saved to modem's internal memory
and will be preserved through MKR NB 1500 sketch uploads.

In order to change the RAT, you will need to run this sketch again.
********************************************************************************

Please choose your Radio Access Technology:

    0 - CAT M1 only
    1 - NB IoT only
    2 - CAT M1 preferred, NB IoT as failover (default)
    3 - NB IoT preferred, CAT M1 as failover

> 2
Disconnecting from network: done.
Setting Radio Access Technology: done.
Applying changes and saving configuration: done.

The modem is properly detected with the example app:

Starting modem test...modem.begin() succeeded
Checking IMEI...Modem's IMEI: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Resetting modem...Modem is functioning properly

But if I try to scan networks, I get

NB IoT/LTE Cat M1 networks scanner
Not connected
Not connected
...

if I try the TestGPRS example, I get

Connecting NB IoT / LTE Cat M1 network...ERROR

I think that's the key:

My consumer SIM card does not grant me access. I would need a special contract it seems.

(and it worked with a dedicated SIM, so the MKR is working)

Choose Cat M1 only, upload your sketch with nbAccess(true) and post the log here.

Please choose your Radio Access Technology:

    0 - CAT M1 only
    1 - NB IoT only
    2 - CAT M1 preferred, NB IoT as failover (default)
    3 - NB IoT preferred, CAT M1 as failover

> 1
Disconnecting from network: done.
Setting Radio Access Technology: done.
Applying changes and saving configuration: done.

Radio Access Technology selected.
Now you can upload your 4G application sketch.

then using the scanner (with my real PIN, not 0000 which I changed in the log)

NB IoT/LTE Cat M1 networks scanner
AT

OK
AT+CPWROFF

OK
AT

OK
AT

OK
AT+CMEE=0

OK
AT+CFUN=0

OK
AT+CPIN?

ERROR
AT+CPIN?

ERROR
AT+CPIN?

+CPIN: SIM PIN

OK
AT+CPIN="0000"

OK
AT+`CGATT`=0

ERROR
Not connected
AT+CPWROFF

OK
AT

OK
AT+CMEE=0

OK
AT+CFUN=0

OK
AT+CPIN?

ERROR
AT+CPIN?

ERROR
AT+CPIN?

+CPIN: SIM PIN

OK
AT+CPIN="0000"

OK
AT+CGATT=0

ERROR
Not connected
AT+CPWROFF

OK
AT

OK
AT+CMEE=0

OK
AT+CFUN=0

OK
AT+CPIN?

+CPIN: SIM PIN

OK
AT+CPIN="0000"

OK
AT+CGATT=0

ERROR
Not connected
AT+CPWROFF

OK
...

What happens if you put this SIM in yout mobile? Can you use it, log in, send data?
With AT+CGATT=0 you detach first. A Error is strange here.
Have you done the modem firmware update?

yeah it's a full 4G SIM, it works fine when I use it in an iPhone for all services.
It works also fine in a MKR GSM 1400

Have you done the modem firmware update

no - I did not. I'll look into that at some point (although I don't use that board anymore so it's not a big deal)

Ok, then do that update first before trying something else. It fixes a lot of issues.
In case u don't know how:

Sure
I use a Mac, so the handy utilities that are provided won’t do. If I get to it I’ll give it a try to command line and Python.

Bonne chance! It's a lucky go round anyway... I updated four MKR1500 with a windows machine and just one went smooth..that's why i prefer mac also ;=)

hello @J-M-L , did you try Arduino MKR GSM 1400 with a full 4G SIM ?? i thought that it only supports 3G / GSM !

Yes it’s only 3G but 4G sims / contracts support 3G too. That worked for me