BG96 – initial connectivity testing

For BG96 (also BG95-Mx, BG77) setup, the main commands are:

AT+CPIN?       //test SIM connection. should reply +CPIN: READY
AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","<APNstring>"  //reboot after any change of this
AT+QCFG=”nwscanmode”,3     // select LTE only (except if GSM really needed - there is only VDF NZ with GSM)
AT+QCFG=”iotopmode”,0      // select CAT.M1 or 1 for NBIoT radio
AT+QCFG="band",0,8000084,8000084   //restrict to B3, B8, B28 for Australia, New Zealand networks
AT+CPSMS=0;+CEDRXS=0      // make sure PSM, eDRX is off for initial connection test.
AT+CEREG?       // Check for registration +CEREG: x,1 (or x,5 for roaming) if success.

//Note that if soft reboot is required, use:  AT+CFUN=1,1

Please note and use the connect APN for the SIM card, if in doubt check with the source of the SIM card. The default APN for Telstra is: “” i.e. blank, or “telstra.iot” may be configured default in older modules FW. Sometimes they may specify a different APN such as telstra.internet that is used for LTE data generally. If the SIM is from another 3rd party such as M2Mone, they may specify their own different APN.
For quick prototyping, an every-day pre-paid Telstra LTE SIM (available from convenience stores or supermarkets (e.g. 7Eleven or Coles), recharge with minimal credit, check that it registers using a handset, then that should also connect to CAT.M1 or NB IoT using APN=”telstra.internet“. Also other Telstra MVNO’s such as Aldi, Woolworth or Belong SIMs may work too.

October 2023: it seems that lately some new pre-paid Telstra SIMs do not allow connection to NB IoT.

To check that the module radio is active and list networks detected (especially if registration fails), try doing a manual scan of available networks. From my development kit, it can detect all networks, need to wait for up to a few minutes for the complete scan. Its best to try this after restricting the bands to search, in the command above, should give faster results.

+COPS: (1,"vodafone AU","voda AU","50503",9),(1,"Optus AU","Optus","50502",9),(1,"Telstra Mobile","Telstra","50501",9),,(0,1,2,3,4),(0,1,2)

To force it manually to Vodafone (faster search):

AT+COPS=1,2,”50503”  // or "50501" for Telstra, "50502" for Optus

Notes for Vodafone Australia NB IoT network:
* Their SIMs are roaming, i.e. the SIM home country is not Australia. This presents challenges to NB IoT radio and can take 10’s of minutes to find service for 1st time. After this 1st time the cell network information is cached and following searches only take seconds. To manually force the search to Vodafone, use the above command.
* APN is “” (i.e. blank string) or “spe.inetd.vodafone.nbiot”

* AT+QCFG="SERVICEDOMAIN",1  to lock "PS only

The above command is required to set compatibility to the network PS only mode operation. If not set, the default is PS+CS mode, and there shall be issues, unable to enter PSM mode.