2G GSM Sim Cards for GPS Tracking Devices

Looking for compatible 2G GSM sim cards for GPS tracking devices?

Devices which track your car, motorbike, pet, child or anything else you need to keep tabs on are getting more and more popular. This is due to to their low cost and the ever increasing need to make our possessions more secure and traceable.
If you are looking to use such a device you will need a compatible GSM sim card for it which will more than likely need to support 2G data.

I have been looking into GPS trackers recently and have installed two into our family cars. There are lots of posts on social media and on the news these days about car jacking and thefts and I wanted a chance of locating our cars should they get taken.

They upload their position to a tracking server every 20-30 seconds when they are being driven. This gives me a history of their journeys along with other information such as direction and speed. This suits my requirements and is how business fleets are managed however most trackers also offer the simpler option to just send you a text message of their current location on demand. This method is suitable for most people’s requirements when constant location is not required.

If you are unfortunate enough to have your vehicle taken you can text or call the tracking device and it will send you a text message with its current location coordinates and/or a link to google maps. Other information may also be included such as GSM signal strength, battery status and current speed.

Most tracking devices especially the cheaper Chinese ones on eBay state that they require a 2G GSM sim card. As these devices are not network locked you can use any network that supports 2G (not all UK networks do these days).

All the sim cards are triple sized which means they are pre cut into standard, micro and nano sizes making them suitable for all devices including smart and tracking watches.
As we are an O2 and giffgaff sim card partner I have picked out a couple of suitable options that I have tested with these devices.
You can order these cards for FREE from our ORDER PAGE either from the networks by clicking on the banners or by completing the order form.

Tariff Requirements

With regard to tariffs I recommend using a simple pay as you go. These are the best option unless you are going to be requesting regular location texts or providing very frequent updates to a tracking platform for extended periods of time.

The amount of data used in updating to a tracking platform is actually quite low. For example if you were to report the position continuously at 30 second intervals you would use about 1MB per day which would work out at around 5p on a the tariffs below. Please note this is based on our own tests and may vary with your own device and tracking platform.

Some trackers can be configured to stop sending their location if they are stationary or the engine is off to save power and data costs. Another option which I have done with the basic devices I own is to only power them when the car is unlocked or started.
When using it as a text message based system I would recommend having the device constantly powered.

Each text message sent by the device costs from 2p each. Once the initial configuration has been done (this is usually done by sending text commands) it will only cost you when you request its location or it sends an alarm notification that has been set such as speeding.

Suitable Sim Cards

UPDATE- as of 7th of November 2019 the O2 Classic sim has been discontinued. You can stay on the tariff if you are already using or have a new card but once our stock has gone this will no longer be an option.

O2 Classic – This is our most popular sim for tracking devices. It has a simple pay as you go tariff of 2p per message, 1p per MB of data and 3p per minute for calls (as of 18/01/18).  The sim card has all three sizes in one so will fit in any tracking device and is 2G, 3G and 4G compatible so future proof.
You need to top up with at least £10 every 6 Months to keep the sim and number active.

If you use the data service for a tracking platform or reverse address look up you will need O2’s APN settings below.
APN: payandgo.o2.co.uk
User: payandgo
Password: password

O2 Summary

1. Simple pay as you go tariff with market leading rates.
2. You can check your balance online via my O2 or my O2 app. ( This is useful when used in tracking devices that can’t check balances).
3. Good network coverage

1. Data is rounded up to the nearest 1p for each session.  If you are using it to upload position data the minimum charge will be 1p.
If the device is disconnected or the data session is closed regularly this may increase your data costs as you will be charged 1p for each new session.
2. You need top up with £10 at least every 6 months to keep the sim and number active.

Click Here to Order Free Sim Cards

giffgaff giffgaff do things slightly differently, you choose you tariff when you first activate you sim card, you also get £5 free credit with you first top up!
They also have a pay as you go tariff which you get bt default if you don’t buy one of their “goodybags”.
The charges are 5p per text, 5p per MB of data and 15p per min for calls. As you don’t normally have a requirement for voice calls the higher cost will not matter.
The “goodybags” allow you to purchase an allowance of data, texts and calls for a monthly amount starting at £5. You can change your allowance each month or chooses to go onto pay as you go. Some of the “goodybags” include unlimited texts and or data which could be useful if you require a higher usage.
Sims are compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G devices and are three in one so will fit all devices.

If you use the data service for a tracking platform or reverse address look up you will need giffgaffs APN settings below.

APN: giffgaff.com
User: giffgaff
Password: (can be left blank)

giffgaff Summary

1. Simple pay as you go option.
2. Good coverage using the O2 network.
3. Option to buy monthly “goodybags” for higher usage.
4. You can check your balance online via the giffgaff website or app. (This is useful when used in tracking devices that can’t check balances).
5. You only need to make a call or send a text every 6 months to keep the card and credit active.


  1. More expensive for heavy users

To order a giffgaff sim card with £5 free credit on you first top up click the button below.

Click Here to Order Free Sim Cards

10 Responses to “2G GSM Sim Cards for GPS Tracking Devices

  • Ehtisham
    2 years ago

    Hi Jonathan,
    I was going through your article “2G GSM SIM CARDS FOR GPS TRACKING DEVICES” and its really helpful. I am also looking to buy sims for GPS tracking. Since o2 data is rounded up to the nearest 1p for each session, it will be really expensive for me as my GPS will update me location after 2 hours. My question is are you sure Giffgaff doesn’t round it like this and charge you on actual Kbs used. Can you also recommend me any other service provider?
    Kind regards

    • Hi Ehtisham,
      The data session issue is a hard one to predict because it depends if the connection is held open and for how long.
      Different users have different experiences.
      I use giffgaff in a couple of devices that report data every 20-30s during car journeys and when in standby they also connect to the server a few times in a 24 hour period.
      The usage cost for me is vey low (a few pence a month) and the billing is in 1p increments so the rounding does not seem to apply in this scenario.
      A point consider is O2 do not give you a breakdown of usage, where as giffgaff will show you the last 5 transactions and a 30 day running total.
      Hope this helps.

  • Glyn parry
    2 years ago

    Your information is incorrect, just received the O2 sim card from you guys and topped up with ₤10, only to read that I must top up every 6 months to keep the number active, not just use the service as your article explains. As you can imagine ₤10 credit sending 3x2p texts every 6 months i was expecting that credit to last me 10 years, but now find out its ₤10 every 6 months

    • Glyn, Thank you very much for pointing this out. It appears that O2 have recently changed their terms and conditions regarding this.
      I have updated the website pages and blog posts accordingly.

  • Diana Lynch
    2 years ago

    Which is the best sim to get for a dog tracker please

    • Hi Diana,
      Depending on usage either the O2 Classic which requires a top up every 6 months or giffgaff without a bundle using it as a pay as you go.

  • Carole
    2 years ago

    I’ve got a giffgaff sim for my setracker watch and it has no signal. How do i get a signal, I’ve activated the sim .

    • Hi,

      This usually indicates a problem with the device.
      I would contact the seller for support.

  • Helen
    1 year ago

    i have just bought an O2 sim for a childs watch, I can’t seem to get it to work, not sure why, there is no signal, O2 have told me the sim is active and the signal in my area is fine, so why wouldn’t it work in the watch??

    • Hi,
      This normally indicates a problem with the watch.
      I recommend you contact the supplier for support.