AT&T announced the completion of its nationwide LTE-M Internet of Things (IoT) network ahead of schedule, management announced last week.
AT&T’s 4G LTE-M IoT network marks another step forward along AT&T’s path, leading to commercial introduction of next-generation 5G wireless/mobile technology and wide-scale roll-out of IoT networks. In addition, the LTE-M IoT network incorporates globally standardized 3GPP technology that makes use of licensed spectrum that affords carrier-grade security and reliability, the company reports in a press release.
In February, management announced its LTE-M IoT network would be available nationwide ahead of schedule, by the end of second quarter. The news came in the wake of successful testing with a pilot network in California in October, along with the subsequent addition of a second test site in Columbus, Ohio.
Looking ahead, AT&T has plans to extend and introduce the new network in Mexico. By the end of the year, management expects the LTE-M IoT network’s footprint will extend across North America covering a total population of 400 million people.
Management provided a short list of the key benefits and advantages its new LTE-M IoT network as compared to current and previous iterations:
- Longer battery life (expected up to 10 years).
- Better coverage for IoT devices underground and deep inside buildings.
- Reduced module size (as small as 1/6 the size of current modules).
AT&T also announced the launch of a new suite of rate plans that include LTE-M services. These start as low as $1.50 per month per device, with additional discounts for yearly and multi-annual contracts, as well as volume commitments, offered.
LTE-M modules direct from AT&T’s supplier will be available at prices as low as $7.50 each, including a SIM card. That’s half off the normal market cost of the LTE Cat-1 modules AT&T began selling in partnership with its supplier last year, the company said.
AT&T is also offering an upgrade path for users of its current IoT networking technology. The M14A2A IoT modules will be upgradeable to LTE-M as soon as a firmware update is completed.
The new LTE-M IoT network is designed with large-scale deployments in mind, AT&T said. Those include smart city services, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, security and alarm monitoring and personal wearables, AT&T elaborated.
“Our nationwide LTE-M deployment is another example of AT&T’s continued investment and leadership in IoT,” said Chris Penrose, President, IoT Solutions, AT&T. “We can now reach new places and connect new things at a price that’s more affordable than ever before. Our LTE-M starter kit will also spur developers to open the doors to IoT innovation.”