I am developing a Kit with GSM module which have to receive and send commands. I have gone through many GSM modules(SIM900). All of them consume around 1.5A at burst time. So I am in trouble to develop a power efficient Kit.

My doubt is normally mobile phone battery has the capability of 1000mAh. According to the calculation it has to work around 1 (busy) hour. But normally they stands for 1 day at-least. Are mobile phones uses any low power GSM modules? Is there any specific sleep-wake up mechanism with them?

Your suggestions and helps around this topic is appreciated.

Thank you

  • \$\begingroup\$ They use 1A peak in short bursts; the current consumption is very spiky, and the module will have design notes about decoupling capacitors which are important. \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    Dec 27, 2014 at 20:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have a good look through [the datasheet that Kamil referenced](AN Siemens Cellular Engine GSM XT65 XT75 _q96 www.cinterion-m2m.ru_document_53.pdf) - search for the term "consumption" - lots of relevant material. Plus various sections related to power use, low power modes etc. Gives a good idea of what is typically done. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Dec 28, 2014 at 0:37

2 Answers 2


Peak current applies to very short pulses. Don't worry about this. In standby mode most GSM modules use much lower current (<50mA).

Long time ago (8 years?) I was using Siemens XT65 GSM/GPRS module and it was pretty energy-efficient (energy consumption was similar/lower than typical GSM phone). There should be no problem to reach 5 day standby on 1000mAh 3.6V battery.

XT65 is very old model now and they probably not sell them anymore, but you can buy modern Siemens modules. They are not so easy to use and relatively expensive but I'm sure that energy efficiency is way better than in low cost modules.

Here is datasheet for XT65 module: link

It says that it uses up to 2A (peak), but this applies to bad signal conditions (when BTS is far).

If you want low cost device - buy some ancient Nokia phone (5110/6110). You can "talk" with them by using UART and AT commands. They can work about 1 week on 3Wh battery (800mAh/3.6V).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am using a module with SIM900A. Here is the link for that module.ebay.com/itm/…. Which one will you recommend? Siemens modules or SIM modules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeyanth90
    Dec 31, 2014 at 5:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are new - I guess it will be better to start with SIM, but also read very detailed Siemens documentation. You will learn a lot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kamil
    Dec 31, 2014 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had used XT65 too. Still have some lying around. You are perhaps the only other XT65 user I've come across. That was one unique module. Siemens stopped it because very few people chose it over conventional modules due to pricing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dojo
    Sep 3, 2017 at 17:20

Kamil's answer is quite correct that the average standby current for GSM modules is much lower than the peak current so you should get similar standby time to a phone. It depends on your application but another trick you can use is to completely deregister from the network and shutdown the module altogether and then wake it up periodically, say once an hour.

A technique I've often used for GPRS is that the remote devices wake up periodically and send in data they have ready for transmission and at the same time check for any incoming messages / commands waiting on the server. It can take a minute or two to register on the network and current draw for most modules seems higher during that process so it probably only makes sense to go that way if you're waking up say every fifteen minutes or less. Of course that will only work if you can tolerate the latency it introduces between data being sent and received.

If you have a time reference available I'm aware of a GPS tracking system that does something similar for SMS by waking up for certain time periods during the day. So you might set it to wake up for five minutes on the hour and you have that window where you can communicate with the device to change settings etc via SMS.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In my application I am only use SMS and GPRS. But normal phone have Call access also. So is that means I can use these modules longer period than phone with same battery. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeyanth90
    Dec 31, 2014 at 5:28

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