Which network provider works where for IoT?

Yash Sanghvi
Data Kisaan
Published in
3 min readJan 29, 2021


From living a tractor owners’ life after shifting our core team to Lucknow, to becoming poised for India’s largest agri-IoT deployment, Simha’s journey went through lots of ebbs and flows. As Simha Kit installations were happening rapidly across all parts of India, a particular problem was making itself more and more prominent. “Are Driver KAHA HO!” — We were set towards answering this question, and poor/ specific network connectivity was proving to be a hurdle in answering this question through Simha Tech.

Our telematics devices use the 2G network to transmit data to our cloud servers. We work with a couple of major M2M network operators in India, let’s call them A and V. Being in Mumbai, we had sufficient coverage of both these networks, and therefore, did not anticipate the situation to be so polarised in remote parts of the country. Several of our devices with Sim Cards of provider A were deployed in areas where there was only provider V coverage, and the story was the same with the provider V devices.

The DataLabs team was approached to find a way to help the installation team to determine beforehand if they should deploy devices of a specific provider in a particular region.

We had initially decided to solve the problem using the past installation data. But this was not a neat solution. It required us to create a couple of unhappy customers in every new region where we began the Simha Kit installation. We needed to do better.

That’s when we came across https://www.opencellid.org/. As they claim, this is ‘The world’s largest Open Database of Cell Towers’. We signed up and got the cell tower locations for India.

Next, we filtered out all the 2G (GSM) towers. Further, we considered only the towers of the M2M network providers we were partnering with.

When we visualized these cell towers for specific locations, the results were almost enlightening.

Have a look at the results for Palakkad:

The number of V towers is nearly 2.5x the number of A towers. What’s more, every region covered by A towers is also covered by V towers. So it makes sense to deploy only V devices in Palakkad.

The results were quite interesting in other ways as well. For instance, it showed how much radiation people in Mumbai city live through. Have a look!

Compare the density numbers for Mumbai city and Palakkad. Again, these are only 2G cell towers of the network providers that we are working with. We haven’t even considered the 4G towers and towers of other service providers.

You can have a look at the dashboard yourself by clicking here.

This dashboard really helped make important decisions before device deployments, and reduced the number of unhappy customers. All the installation team has to do now is enter the district or tehsil where they plan to deploy the devices on this dashboard.

All in all, this was a good example of data helping make important business decisions.

Enjoyed this article? Then be on the lookout for another two weeks later. Till then, for any data related discussions, feel free to drop us a line at datalabs@carnot.co.in. And don’t forget to follow Data Kisaan on Medium.