Sparkfun LTE CAT-M1 Shield US carrier activation?

Anyone been successful activating this product with a US Cellular provider?

We are interested using this board but unsure if any US carriers will allow activation.

Anyone with experience with product in the US?


You will be fine with that board, what is important is the cell module, in this case its the U-BLox SARA-R410M which is heavily used in the US and is the same module used by Hologram in their Nova. It also has various module carrier certifications (I know at minimum Verizon, I also think AT&T and T-Mobile).

You should have no problem with that board.

EDIT: I should also be clear, this board is Cat-M1 not CAT-1 as your title says. Just in case you were looking for a Cat-1 device (which offers higher bandwidth and potentially lower latency than Cat-M1)


I know that Sparkfun did not pay to have any additional certifications done on this board that ties the ublox modem to an antenna and SIM socket, so that has me concerned. Verizon can be picky about what they let on their network. I have had some refused because they are not “socket” modems.

My mistake, I corrected title.

Hi @plcman our Hologram Nova is certified as an end device in the US for both

You can reach out through those channels if you have any further questions. Thanks for considering the Nova!

Yes you will not be “end device certified” as the Nova is (as Hologram mentioned) the end device certification is made easier by having a module that is already certified (much like FCC testing).

The Sparkfun module should work fine with a Hologram simcard even if it is connecting to the Verizon network. If you use another MVNO’s simcard or a specific carriers simcard then you may need to do carrier end device certifications.

Regulatory and carrier certification is definitely something to consider when doing your product design especially if it will be relatively high volume. Honestly Verizon won’t notice or care if you have 25 units using a certified module with Hologram simcards in non certified end devices, 2,500 maybe.

Of course if you are required to go through carrier certification it kind of makes the whole advantage of Hologram’s simcards moot as you would be tied to one carrier. Or you bite the bullet and do multiple carrier end device certifications like the Nova.

Lastly, my 2 cents, if you are high enough volume where carrier certification is something you need to pursue then I strongly suggest designing your own PCB and not using shields / Arduino’s etc. There is a huge convenience / hobbyist markup on those boards and custom PCBA’s are fairly cheap at volume. Additionally if you fail for some reason, such as TIS / TRP you have no way to fix it without a custom board anyway.

Yes, I have just built a NB-IoT device with this board. It successfully connects to Verizon and Sprint in the US (I have nbot tried other carriers). However I have a problem receiving messages (SMS) in phones connected to the Verizon network. Everything works fine sending messages to phones connected to AT&T cellular network, but something in Verizon appears to block messages from the country code +88 236 000 xxx xxxx phone number used by Hologram as source for the SMS to your phone. Note, it is NOT related to the SARA R410M on the outbound - that connects fine, sends fine, and hologram processes the message fine, it just never arrives at my iPhone on the Verizon network.
I am working with Verizon to find out why it works for AT&T network phones, but not Verizon.