Sprint announced an ambitious and far reaching plan to support next generation IoT devices across its nationwide network. Notably, Sprint is taking advantage of new LTE wireless broadband standards and technology in doing so.
In a presentation given at IoT World 2017 in Santa Clara, Calif. Sprint executives outlined Sprint’s plan to deploy LTE Cat 1 technology nationwide come end July. Roll-out of LTE Cat M in mid-2018, then LTE Cat NB1 are to follow.
“We’re making great progress on our roadmap in support of the evolution of the IoT standards and Access Technology,” Mohamad Nasser, general manager of Sprint’s IoT Business Unit, was quoted in a news release. “IoT, along with wireless and wireline, is one of the three critical business lines for the Sprint Business portfolio. We are investing effort and capital to make sure that Sprint is well positioned to capitalize on the incredible growth that IoT will experience globally.”
Sprint isn’t the only wireless carrier looking to take advantage of emerging LTE based IoT applications, in its bid to build a presence in the fast-growing, widely diverse IoT market space. Last October AT&T launched what it billed as the industry’s first commercial LTE-M enabled IoT networking project, a pilot IoT network in which PepsiCo, Samsung and others are participating.
“We think LTE-M will be the workhorse for low-power wide area” connectivity, Cameron Coursey, AT&T vice president of product development for IoT solutions, explained in an interview.
As indicated in Sprint’s announcement, LTE-M comes in various “flavors.” Reliable, secure and low-power peer-to-peer, machine-to-machine (M2M) network communications is the functional attribute shared by all of them that Sprint and its industry peers aim to leverage and capitalize on as they seek to develop their IoT product and service portfoloios and gain IoT market share.
As Sprint explains, LTE Cat 1 is designed to support Iot applications, such as vehicle telematics and industrial IoT applications. LTE Cat M1 and NB1 are designed to support numerous other applications that require very low-power throughput and power consumption. These include industrial wireless sensors, asset trackers and wearable devices.
As a partner in the project, the leader of Ericsson North America’s Netowrk Products unit, Glenn Laxdal, had this to say regarding Sprint’s next-gen IoT-LTE networking plan: “As one of the leading enablers and solution providers of the Internet of Things, Ericsson believes in its power to transform industries and capture new growth. Ericsson looks forward to partnering with Sprint to deploy Cat M1 next year and bring the transformative power of IoT to the Sprint Nationwide network.”