AT&T forges ahead with deployment of LTE-M network for IoT

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US telco giant AT&T says it is ahead of schedule with plans for a nationwide deployment of its LTE-M network for the Internet of Things (IoT) in the second quarter of 2017.

The move is against the backdrop of its successful pilot of the LTE-M Low-Power Wide-Area network at AT&T Labs in San Ramon, California. The company switched on North America’s first LTE-M enabled commercial site in October 2016 to support the pilot with other ecosystem players.

Companies such as Altair, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Sierra Wireless, u-blox, Wistron NeWeb Corp. (WNC), and Xirgo Technologies were part of the LTE-M pilot.

AT&T is also planning LTE-M availability in Mexico by the end of 2017. The roll out will ultimately support a North American footprint across the AT&T 4G LTE network in the US and Mexico. AT&T’s LTE-M network will help accelerate the large-scale IoT deployments. Moreover, devices designed to operate on the LTE-M network have advantages over traditional IoT connectivity options.

The benefits include lower device costs, longer battery life, better coverage underground and inside buildings, as well as more efficient module size.

The company is also working with tech leaders and providers at its AT&T Labs to evaluate the performance of the LTE-M network and chipset technology in a variety of situations. The testing is being implemented on smart water meters, pallets and beverage fountains, as well as consumer devices with Samsung.

“We’re seeing real momentum for LTE-M that will let us connect more end points than ever before, and we can do it at a lower cost with superior performance and carrier-grade security,” said Chris Penrose, AT&T IoT solutions president in a statement.

In January, Gemalto provided its LinqUS On-Demand Connectivity (ODC) subscription management solution to AT&T to help the latter’s worldwide customers deploy new and highly secured IoT applications.

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