Cellular modem for ODK2 in Ethiopia

Does anyone have experience using tablets with/without SIM card in rural Ethiopia?

We’re planning ODK2 data collection in the Gojjam province. We’ve tested cell data speeds and have readings from 410Kbps to 1.5Mbps.

We were hoping to collect offline using non-SIM tablets. Then occasionally, we would sync using a cellular modem. Our partners in Ethiopia are not sure about this. They have not used a cellular modem. They would prefer for us to get tablets with SIM cards.

I don’t think there would be any real difference in connectivity? Does anyone have experience using a Cellular modem in Ethiopia? It looks like they are readily available from ethio telecom. I don’t think this would be significantly different in terms of device availability, upload/download performance, or signal availability.

While not specific to rural Ethiopia, we did use a mix of with/without SIM cards + wifi in Egypt and it worked fine. You don’t want to sync mid-interview anyways, so syncing at the end of the day or otherwise occasionally should be fine.


I agree with @elmps2018. On our projects in South Africa we almost only use wifi enabled devices that connect to a modem or a device with a sim card for transmission of data at the end of the day. Most smart phones can be used as a hot-spot, which negates the need to buy a modem to be used specifically for data transfer. Get one or two collection devices with cellular capability and use those for data transmission.

That’s helpful to know. Thanks to all for sharing.