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The Best SIM Card Security Cameras Buying Guide in 2024

Jenny Hu12/9/2022
SIM Card Security Cameras: Work Without WiFi Network & Power Source

Are you looking for a wireless security camera that does not require Wi-Fi or power? If so, a SIM card camera may be the perfect option for you. CCTV camera with sim card cameras run on a 4G network and can be accessed remotely via mobile phone. This makes them ideal for monitoring areas without Wi-Fi or power. So, if you are looking for a reliable and affordable security solution, a SIM card camera may be the perfect option for you.

What Is A SIM Card Camera?

A SIM card camera is a CCTV security camera that communicates wirelessly with other devices using the 4G network. These cameras are often used for remote video surveillance in rural areas or anywhere that is not easy to get an internet access. Some cellular cameras have a pre-paid SIM card embedded while others need a SIM card purchased separately by the user. The SIM card allows the camera to operate on the cellular network and communicate with other devices.

The picture shows what is a SIM card camer - security camera that use SIM card to transmit data

SIM card cameras get power from a rechargeable battery or solar panel for remote video surveillance. They can be used nearly anywhere, including ranches, farms, and other remote areas, because they don’t need Wi-Fi or a power outlet. That way, you can view real-time videos of places from anywhere on your phone or computer.

One thing to note is that security cameras with SIM card require a data plan to transmit pictures or videos, just like your mobile phone. Make sure the cellular signal is strong in the place you plan to install the SIM cameras. Then you can consult the provider and choose a data plan that best meets your needs.

5 Easy Steps To Set Up A SIM Card Camera

Many worry that professional installation is required for security cameras with SIM cards, leading to increased costs and trouble.

However, this is not the case - SIM card security cameras are easy to install, even for those without experience. The following steps will guide you through the process, as well as some factors to consider when making your purchase.

1. Check whether your SIM card camera has a pre-installed SIM card.

Look inside your camera's box and read the product specifications carefully. Does your camera come with a SIM card preinstalled?

If your answer is yes, you need to make sure the SIM card inserted in the security camera has been pre-activated.

For some SIM card security cameras, the SIM card activates when you set up your camera for the first time. Otherwise, you should contact the sales team of the SIM card camera to activate it.

If your answer is no, you need to purchase a SIM card separately from the mobile service providers supported by your SIM card camera. Don't forget to purchase a data plan that suits your need.

Also, make sure that the place you want to monitor with your SIM card CCTV camera has good cellular signals from the data service provider you choose.

2. Properly insert the SIM card into your security cameras.

Place the SIM card into your 4G security cameras in the right direction as the instructions say. Otherwise, your CCTV camera with SIM card (slot) may not work.

As the 4G CCTV cameras with SIM card are generally powered by batteries, it is recommended to choose rechargeable battery powered security cameras, so you don’t need to spend extra time and money replacing batteries frequently.

Better still, some security cameras with SIM card offer the optional solar panel as a backup plan. With a solar panel, you can simply leave the SIM card security camera out there and never have to worry about the power supply.

3. Decide whether you need to record videos locally.

If you want to store the footage of your SIM card cameras on site in case of cellular service interruption, you need to insert a micro SD card additionally. (Make sure there is a micro SD card slot in the camera first.)

Besides safe and local storage, a micro SD card with a large capacity cost much less than a cloud-based subscription service. For example, a 128GB micro SD card that can be used for years costs around $18, while a basic Cloud subscription costs around $40 each year.

4. Set up and install your SIM card security camera.

Due to the wireless features of SIM card cameras, it's better to set up these cameras before your install them.

Normally reputable SIM card camera sellers have their own App or client for you to easily customize the SIM card camera's settings, such as Reolink App.

Make sure your SIM card camera is connected to the network and add it to the App. Then you can start initializing the SIM card camera and complete the settings.

After you set it up, you can easily install the wireless SIM card camera anywhere. Choose a proper spot and screw the mount into the wall or tree. You can also adjust the camera's angle to your liking.

If you want a step-by-step guide, you can watch the following video for more details. Get it done within only a few minutes!

5. Place your SIM card cameras within cellular network coverage.

You are free to place the outdoor and indoor CCTV cameras with SIM card anywhere you desire, as long as they are within the cellular data coverage.

To make sure your SIM card cameras have good cellular reception, it is best to choose a reliable carrier in your location, and place the camera in areas with good cellular signals.

When everything is done, you can receive instant alerts when motion is detected and view the live feed of your SIM card security cameras remotely anytime and anywhere.

So basically, setting up the SIM card security camera and get it running is quite straightforward. Let’s see how the outdoor YouTuber set the Reolink Go Plus up in just a few minutes.

The data usage of a SIM card security camera

How much data a security camera with SIM card consumes in a month?

There is no standard answer to the question of how much data a security camera with SIM card consumes in a month. Data usage can vary significantly among all users of SIM card security cameras. Generally speaking, a SIM card camera can consume from 0.5GB up to 50GB of data and more, depending on what service you want and how often you use it. The resolution of videos and how often you access the camera can both influence data usage.

Here are some data of the 4G data usage for a 2K SIM card security camera. (The chart is only for your reference because specific data usage can be different.)

Usage Scenarios Data transmission speed Time Data Usage
Sleep Mode 0Mbps 1 day 5MB
View Live Video (substream) 512kbps 1 hour per day Around 0.2GB
View Live Video (mainstream) 3Mbps 1 hour per day Around 1.4GB
Cloud Storage 1Mbps 1 hour per day Around 0.5GB

The table shows the amount of data used for different activities with a SIM card security camera. In sleep mode, the camera uses basicly no data, but in live video mode, it can use up to 3Mbps, which results in data usage of 1.4GB per day with 1 hour live viewing. If you only view live video with substream(which means lower resolution), you would use around 0.2GB of data. If you also use cloud storage, you would use an additional 0.5GB of data per day to store the data to the Cloud.

When Do SIM Card Security Cameras Consume Your Cellular Data

SIM cards typically have a data limit, so it is important to know how your camera will use data before selecting a plan. Live streaming video will use the most data, followed by storing video footage to the cloud. Motion alerts usually only use a small amount of data, but if you have frequent alerts, it can add up. Sleep mode is the lowest data usage option, but it is important to check your camera's status regularly to ensure it is working properly.

Your security cameras with SIM card would consume cellular data in the following circumstances:

  • Live straming
  • Watch live viewing remotely.
  • Motion alert that pushes message to your phone/client
  • Picture/video footages stored to the cloud
  • Sleeping mode with the lowest usage

What Can You Do to Save the Data Usage of Security Cameras with SIM Card

Our list of ways to optimize the data usage of your SIM card security cameras is based on the scenarios in which your SIM card security cameras consume cellular data. Here is how you can reduce data usage with your SIM card security cameras.

  1. Adjust the motion detection sensitivity of your security cameras with SIM card (slot) to reduce false alarms.
  2. Position your wireless alarm systems with SIM card in low-traffic areas to avoid unwanted motion-detection video clips.
  3. Watch the live streaming or playback recorded videos of SIM card CCTV security cameras with a lower resolution.
  4. Make sure your SIM card IP cameras are placed within good mobile signal strength.

SIM Card Camera for Watching Wildlife

Many people choose cellular cameras to observe wildlife because of their wireless feature. These cameras perform well even in off-grid places, which is important for people to watch animals from far away.

a SIM card inserting to a cellular wildlife camera -keen ranger pt

What is a wildlife camera?
The wildlife camera, or cellular trail camera, is a device designed for filming and photographing animals outdoors. When an animal passes by, it begins filming or photographing immediately. Some cellular trail cameras allow you to download the files wirelessly over Wi-Fi, while others save the images to a memory card. To watch video footage stored on an SD card, users need to fetch the SD card from the camera and insert it to a computer.

Cellular trail cameras are an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to learn more about the animal kingdom. It can be placed in strategic locations such as water sources to capture footage of animals in their natural habitat.

If you are hunters who want to track game and collect data or wildlife researchers to study the movements of specific animals, cellular trail cameras are a great option for you.

Bonus tip: Check the ultimate buying guide for cellular trail cameras, including installation tips!

Best SIM Card Cameras (Battery Powered & Bandwidth Friendly)

SIM card security cameras make it more convenient than ever before to view live streams in remote areas. While taking the brand and performance into consideration, we finally selected two quality SIM card cameras as our top picks.

Reolink Go Plus is one of the best SIM card security cameras released by the reputable brand Reolink. This 4G cellular camera has got a roaring reputation due to its outstanding performance and decent price.

Reolink Go Plus

Smart Wireless 4G Battery Camera

Rechargeable Battery/Solar Powered, Person/Vehicle Detection, 2K 4MP Super HD, Two-Way Audio, High-Quality Night Vision, Live View Anytime.

Reolink Go Plus is a 4G cellular camera that has a rechargeable battery and solar-powered. This makes it cost-effective and eco-friendly. It also has a 2K 4MP Super HD resolution that captures clear images and videos, even in low light or at night.

This camera also has the easy remote access which allows you to watch live viewing anytime and anywhere on your smartphone. This is great as it means that you can monitor your barns or farms remotely on your smartphone even without WiFi or Internet. This allows you to keep tabs on the activities of sick horses or pregnant cows.

If you want to monitor a large area or enjoy a wide view, Reolink Go PT Plus is your best choice. This wire-free SIM card camera can cover a larger area with 355 pan ° and 140° tilt.

Reolink Go PT Plus

Wire-Free 4G LTE PT Security Camera

No WiFi or Power Connection Needed; Rechargeable Battery or Solar Powered; Person/Vehicle Detection, 355° Pan & 140° Tilt, 2K Super HD.

Similarly, Reolink Go PT Plus can capture crisp-clear images in the wild and allow you to view live remotely. The extraordinary pan-and-tilt function helps you see as much as possible. You can also control its angle on Reolink App and check everything around it.


Here we’ve collected some common questions asked about SIM card security cameras. And if you have any more problems about the security cameras with SIM card, please feel free to leave your comment below.

How Much Data Does a Security Camera with SIM card Consume per Month?

SIM card cameras can consume from 0.5GB up to 50GB of data and more per month. The data usage depends on how frequently you access the SIM card camera, what bitrate you set, and more. The actual data consumption varies among each camera.

Let's take Reolink Go Plus as an example. In clear mode (the bitrate is 1.5Mbps), 1GB of data plan allows you to view live video continuously for 1 hour. In fluent mode (the bitrate is 1160 kbps), you can view live videos for 10 hours with 1GB of data.

How to Choose the Data Plan for Your Sim Card CCTV Security Cameras?

Firstly, you should settle on a mobile service provider that can work with your SIM card security cameras in the monitoring place, that is, have good phone signals there.

After that, you may consult the cellular service supplier about what data plans are provided and choose the one that best meets your security needs.

If Multiple Cellular Cameras Are to Be Used at the Same Place, Can They Share One SIM Card or Data Plan?

Usually, a SIM card with an associated data plan is assigned to only one 4G cellular camera. But you may consult your local cellular carriers whether they would have a bundle package deal on more than one SIM card security camera.

Do SIM Card Cameras Get Similar Signal to a Cell Phone?

Yes, it's about the same if your SIM card CCTV security cameras and cell phones are using the data from the same mobile network supplier.

In case your smartphone has strong mobile signals (at least two bars), it’s very likely that your 4G SIM card security cameras can stream fluent videos to your phone.

What Batteries Should You Use for Sim Card Security Cameras?

For most SIM card security cameras, it's best to use the battery that comes with the camera box by default. If you need more battery life to keep monitoring, you can better buy the add-on bundle with a changeable battery, so you can use one battery in the camera to keep it working while another one is in the charger.

If the camera can use a normal battery, it is recommended to use rechargeable lithium batteries for your SIM card security cameras. The reason for this is that lithium batteries can operate in extreme weather conditions where alkaline batteries cease to function. The lifespan of your SIM card security cameras will also be extended with lithium batteries.


SIM card cameras are widely used in home security, wildlife observation, and many other aspects. The wireless feature brings great convenience to our life than other traditional security cameras.

Have you ever used a SIM card camera? How do you use it or how do you think of it? Just share your experience or any other ideas with us in the comment below!


All Comments Are Welcome

Jenny is an editor from Reolink. Her posts are helpful for homeowners, undergraduates, small business owners, and pretty much anyone who needs security tips for a worry-free world. If you want to say hi, you can email her at (replace # with @) to connect!