One good thing about iOS devices is that they can receive MDM commands through cellular data or wifi, all without even having a SIM card inside of them. That means that MDM admins, if they need to, can provision a number of test iOS devices while only having 1 data plan. Can you do the same thing with Android phones?
Yes and no. You can definitely still enroll an Android phone, which only requires connections between your MDM solution and the Android device. When it comes to management through MDM though, you’re going to be out of luck without having a valid SIM card. Google’s cloud messaging service GCM requires that Android phones have a valid SIM card inside of them in order to receive MDM commands. If you’re using SAP Afaria, you may see this error message (SAP KB 1985000):
ONS1032: Could not determine the SMS Client Address
In this case, Afaria is trying to send an MDM command to the Android device via SMS, because the device does not have a valid SIM card. In order for the device to receive valid commands, it must be enrolled and synced with valid SIM card data. MDM admins hoping to do testing with Android need to watch out for this caveat!
Tip: You can buy a SIM card adapter for super cheap on eBay if you need to get one data plan to work on a variety of phones. If you’re in a rush, you can get one on Amazon for $6 bucks.