Using a SIM card, and a SIM card reader, what other equipment do you need to connect a computer that doesn't have support for cellular connectivity to a cellular network?

My understanding of SIM cards and mobile networks is that they are simply smart cards that only authenticate your access to a mobile network and that the cellular device is what actually facilitates the mobile connection.

  • Most people connect a computer to a cellular network using a WiFi mobile hotspot. – Appleoddity Nov 16 at 4:28
  • Well, yes, but the "mobile hotspot" is still just a cellular modem regardless of its shape. – grawity Nov 16 at 9:24
  • It's a bit unusual to have a SIM card reader not part of a modem. Are you sure you don't actually have a modem that includes that reader? – jcaron Nov 16 at 15:43
  • You can use USB to share your mobile network with PC. You can refer to: – Peter.G Nov 20 at 9:13
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Nowadays most people use an LTE personal Wi-Fi hotspot, or enable the personal hotspot or tethering feature of their smartphone.

If you don't want a separate device with its own power to manage, then you need a cellular radio card (a.k.a. "wireless modem", "LTE modem", "LTE USB stick" etc. ). You can buy them from Sierra Wireless, Novatel, ZTE, Huawei, and others. They cost as low as $25 US. It's a different radio technology than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It's probably best to contact your wireless carrier and ask if they have a preferred USB LTE modem for their network. The modem will have its own SIM card slot.

  • 7
    Hm... on, an LTE USB stick goes for 20-50 US$. Where did you get the $200 figure? – sleske Nov 16 at 11:25
  • 1
    Also many high-end Lenovo and Dell laptops have LTE build-in modems nowadays. In that case You just need to check where the SIM card slot is. – Skipper Nov 16 at 12:34
  • It sounds like the question is looking for something even more basic as the machine already has a SIM card reader. – kasperd Nov 16 at 15:12
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    @sleske Thanks, fixed. I think I was only looking at the longstanding brands I trust and not the recent import brands. – Spiff Nov 16 at 15:36
  • @kasperd A SIM card is just a smart card variant that the wireless telephony industry adopted, and I've seen people confuse the two before, so I figured OP just had a smart card reader and he didn't realize it had nothing to do with wireless data service. – Spiff Nov 16 at 15:40

You need a mobile hotspot, or a cellular modem. Both devices connect to a cellular network and need a data plan from that cellular provider.

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