Increasingly popular and widely used among hunters, property owners, researchers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike, cellular trail cameras offer a convenient way to capture footage in the wilderness or other remote areas without having to physically be present. But do cellular trail cameras require a subscription in order to function? This is a common question and a topic of debate among users.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at the facts and uncover the truth behind this question. We’ll examine various scenarios and determine the best course of action for those who are interested in utilizing cellular trail cameras to capture their footage. And we aim to provide readers with all the information necessary to make an informed decision when it comes to cellular trail cameras and their subscription requirements.
Table of Contents
What is a Cellular Trail Camera?
A cellular trail camera is a type of game camera that uses a cellular network and a SIM card to connect to the internet and transmit the images and videos it captures from a remote location. By registering and connecting your camera to a cellular network, you can access your photos from anywhere you have a cellular signal — regardless of your proximity to the camera. This makes these cameras an ideal choice for hunters, property owners, and wildlife photographers who need to monitor activities in remote locations.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Cellular Trail Camera?
Cellular trail cameras offer a range of benefits for hunters, wildlife watchers, and property owners alike. These benefits include:
- Saving time and money by being able to easily view pictures and videos from cameras that are in remote locations.
- The ability to change camera settings remotely.
- Not disturbing animals and disrupting animal behavior.
- Most cameras come with smartphone apps with features like recognition software, allowing users to sort through photos quickly and easily to find what they are looking for.
- Many apps allow you to look for patterns of behavior based on the time of day or environmental conditions.
- Built-in GPS tracking capabilities on some models, can help you locate your camera if you misplace it or if it gets stolen.
- Giving hunters the opportunity to adjust tactics on the fly based on timely information.
- Helping farmers and other animal owners keep their animals safe by alerting them to the presence of predators.
- Giving property owners who want to beef up their security the option to deploy cellular trail cameras in areas with no electricity or WiFi access, where traditional security cameras cannot be installed.
Do Cellular Trail Cameras Require a Data Plan Subscription?
The short answer to this question is “no”. Technically pretty much every cellular trail camera does not require a subscription to take and save pictures on their SD cards. However, if you want your cellular trail camera to transmit the photos and videos it captures, then a subscription to a cellular data plan is necessary.
This sort of flexibility is great for those who want to run their camera year-round, but only need the camera to transmit pictures and videos for a portion of the year and don’t want to pay money for a subscription during the months that they don’t need it.
That said, spending the extra money to get a trail camera with cellular capabilities and never having it send images to you is silly. So for at least part of the year, you will probably want to have a subscription to a cellular data plan. That is where knowing more about data plan options is helpful.
Types of Cellular Plans That Are Available (Free, Monthly, Annual)
When looking at the available data plan options for cellular trail cameras you will find that they can be broken down into three categories: free, monthly, and annual.
At the time we are writing this article SPYPOINT is the only manufacturer that offers a free data plan for their cellular trail cameras. The free plan from SPPOINT is their most basic option and includes up to 100 photos per month. This is a great option for those who are placing a camera in an area that doesn’t have a lot of activity. However, it does not include any free video downloads or hi-res image transfers.
Monthly plans are the most expensive option when you look at the cost per month, but they will offer you way more image transfers per month than a free plan with multiple options to choose from. Plus, with paid plans, you might get extra features like HD image transfers, video transfers, or the ability to share the plan between multiple cameras, which can help to make things feel more affordable. The other great thing about getting a month-to-month data plan is that you aren’t locked into a long-term contract when you only need to have your camera monitor and area for a few months out of the year.
Most manufacturers will also have an annual data plan option for their trail cameras. These plans are ideal if you want your camera to send you pictures and videos year-round. As a benefit of agreeing to a longer data plan subscription, annual plans offer a more competitive average monthly price, while providing the same choices for the amount of monthly image or video transfers as you would find with monthly plans.
If you want to find out about the various data plan options in more detail you might be interested in reading an article we wrote about cellular trail camera plans where we break down the exact features and costs of data plans for cellular trail cameras from multiple manufacturers.
While almost every cellular trail camera will function like a traditional trail camera without a cell signal and save the images and videos to its memory card, allowing users to view them later. it is very unlikely that anyone would buy a cellular trail camera and not want to take advantage of its cellular capabilities. So unless your cellular trail cam has the option for a free plan that meets your needs most of us will be looking to purchase a data plan subscription of some sort for at least part of the year.
No matter what type of cellular plan you choose, it is important to understand the features, limitations, and duration of each plan before making a decision. With the right information, you can select the best cellular trail camera data plan subscription for you and your budget. Plus, knowing the various data plan options for different manufacturers can also help you make a smart buying decision when you are in the market for a new cellular trail camera.