Below are some commonly asked questions with respect to Particle's pricing model (announced at Spectra, March 2021).
What is the new pricing model that was announced?
Particle announced a new pricing model at Spectra, March 2021, the details of which can be found here. This pricing model is divided into three plans:
- A Free plan - a user operating within the bounds of the Sandbox (a free development space limited to under 100k Data Operations per month and up to 100 devices) can develop without incurring billing.
- A Growth plan (available in Summer 2021) - as a given user scales their project, they may wish to opt into support for a larger number of Data Operations and/or devices. Growth Plan users pay for usage in blocks. Each block includes 720k Data Operations per month and allows 100 devices to access the Particle Cloud.
- An Enterprise plan - offering customer Data Operations volume, Premium 24/7 dedicated support, volume discounts, and access to turnkey design and manufacturing services.
Please see the link above and questions below for more details.
What is a block?
A block is a bundle of an additional 720k Data Operations and support for an additional 100 devices. A block is further inclusive to 540 MB of cellular data for cellular devices and 1.5 GB for Tracker devices.
What is a Data Operation and how can I keep track of my consumption?
Each Particle Publish, Subscribe, Function, or Variable consumes one Data Operation regardless of size (currently limited to 622 bytes per operation). In the Console, the user-initiated Ping and Signal buttons are metered as well.
The following do not count against your Data Operations limit:
- Over-the-air firmware updates do not count against your Data Operations limit
- Acknowledgements, session negotiation, device vitals, keep-alives etc. do not count against your Data Operations limit
- Webhooks and server-sent-events (SSE) do not count against your Data Operations limit
- Particle cloud API calls do not count against your Data Operations limit
The Particle Console lists the three limits you will most likely encounter:
- The number of devices (Cellular, Wi-Fi, and Tracker).
- For Free and Growth plans, the number of Data Operations consumed this billing month (for Enterprise plans, Data Operations reporting will be annual). Data Operation reporting will be near real-time, but up to 30 minutes behind.
- For Free and Growth plans, the number of MB of cellular usage this billing month (for Enterprise plans, data usage reporting will be annual). Note that the cellular data usage is not real-time. It can take at least 24 hours, and in some cases may lag several days behind actual usage.
For a Data Operations Calculator, please follow the link here.
For questions regarding the technical specifications of a Data Operation, please review our documentation here.
How much can one expect to pay per plan?
Free plan users (users operating within the bounds of the Sandbox, as defined above), will not be charged as per the terms of the Sandbox.
Growth plan (available in Summer 2021) users should refer to Particle's pricing page for more information about the pricing of blocks based on Particle device type.
Potential Enterprise plan users should contact Sales in order to determine this information. Existing Enterprise plan users are always encouraged to contact their Customer Success Manager for any questions they may have about the new pricing model.
How can I determine what plan I belong to?
If you are a current customer, Particle will reach out via email to notify you of the status of your account. If you haven’t heard from us, please check your Spam folder and then contact support via a support ticket (support.particle.io). Particle’s new pricing model allows developers to use our products free with no charges for up to 100 devices and 100k Data Operations.
Many of our existing users will belong to the Free Plan. We will email those customers whose current practices exceed the Sandbox limits about the process of moving to the Growth Plan. Enterprise Plan Customers will be in touch with their Customer Success Manager directly with more information.
If you are a new customer, we encourage you to start developing within the free Sandbox. You will be able to see your monthly usage on the billing page in our Console (console.particle.io) and if you cross the thresholds of usage, our UI will provide you with a warning.
How can I sign up for the Growth plan?
The Growth plan will be released beginning in Summer 2021. If you are a new customer interested in learning more about signing up for the Growth plan, we encourage you to be in touch via our Support Portal (support.particle.io). Existing customers whose current practices exceed the Sandbox limits will be contacted proactively by Particle to discuss the transition - please check your email!
If I would like to cancel my billing, what steps must I take?
The majority of Particle users will be moved to the Free plan. If your account belongs to the Free plan, you will not be charged and you need to take no action to suspend further billing.
If you have received notice from Particle via email that your account's current usage exceeds the boundaries of the Free Plan but would like to urgently cancel your billing, the prior model for billing cancellation will remain in effect until the rollout of the Growth plan in Summer 2021. See here for information about how to proceed.
Are there any restrictions on device data usage outside of the Particle Cloud?
For Wi-Fi devices (Photon, P1, Argon) there is no limit for direct TCP or UDP data communications, or services that are based on direct communication such as Blynk.
For cellular devices, there is a data limit depending on your pricing plan. The following cellular data limits are pooled across all devices and include all data usage including Data Operations, OTA updates, messaging overhead, and messaging to 3rd-party services:
- Free Plan: 100 MB cellular data per month
- Growth Plan: 540 MB cellular data per block per month (1.5 GB for Tracker)
- Enterprise Plan: varies by pricing tier, contact Particle Sales to learn more
How can I optimize my Data Operation consumption?
Please see our documentation here for suggested practices to reduce Data Operation consumption.
What happens if I cross my Data Operations threshold?
Free plan users who require more Data Operations and/or support for more devices will need to upgrade to the Growth plan. Should you exceed 100K Data Operations, all Data Operations for both cellular and Wi-Fi will stop until the end of the billing month, when they will be resumed. You cannot add more Data Operations to the Free plan.
Note: before Summer 2021, Particle will provide a warning but will not be pausing devices based upon the 100k Data Operations limit. Once the Growth plan is released (Summer 2021), however, pausing will be enforced.
In the Growth plan, if you need more than your current allotment of Data Operations and/or devices, you can add another block.
In the Enterprise plan, the number of Data Operations is pooled annually across all devices, instead of monthly in the Free and Growth plans. Please contact your Customer Success Manager for questions about overages.
What happens if I cross my device cap threshold?
You cannot add more than 100 devices to the Free plan. You instead will need to upgrade to the Growth plan. Unlike the Data Operations threshold, which will only be enforced beginning in Summer 2021, the device cap threshold will come into effect immediately. Free plan users are encouraged to unclaim unused devices if necessary.
You can have any number of devices in the Growth plan, but you will need to purchase another block for each group of 100 devices. It's not possible to purchase a fractional block for devices only; each block includes a maximum number of devices, Data Operations, and cellular data usage, and exceeding any one limit will require purchasing an additional block.
There is no limit to the number of blocks you can purchase in the Growth plan, however upgrading to an Enterprise contract can reduce the cost.
What happens if I cross my cellular data threshold?
In the Free plan, if you exceed the pooled monthly data quota, all SIMs in your account will be paused until the end of the billing month, when they will be resumed. It is not possible to add more data to the Free plan.
In the Growth plan, if you exceed the pooled monthly data quota, you can add an additional block to add more data.
In the Enterprise plan, the amount of cellular data is pooled annually across all devices, instead of monthly in the Free and Growth plans. Please contact your Customer Success Manager for questions about overages.