AT&T has launched its nationwide LTE-M network ahead of schedule in the US.
The network, which will be used to link up IoT devices and applications, went live across the company’s 4G network after a software upgrade. The move represents another step forward on the company’s roadmap to 5G and massive IoT connectivity, but comes almost two months after rival Verizon launched its own LTE-M network.
The deployment follows the successful launch by AT&T of an IoT node site in San Francisco last October. The telco also plans to deploy LTE-M across Mexico by the end of 2017 to create a North American footprint covering 400 million people.
The company added that this technology has several advantages over traditional IOT connectivity options, such as longer battery life (with up to 10 years expected), better coverage for IoT devices underground and deep inside buildings, and reduced module size.
AT&T added that LTE-M supports large-scale IoT deployments such as smart city services, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, security and alarm monitoring and personal wearables.
“Our nationwide LTE-M deployment is another example of AT&T’s continued investment and leadership in IoT,” said Chris Penrose, president of IoT Solutions at 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.”
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AT&T has launched a full new suite of rate plans for this network, with monthly plans starting at $1.50 per month, per device. Further discounts will be available for yearly and multi-year plans, as well as volume commitments, the company said. Modules will be available from AT&T’s supplier for as low as $7.50 each, which includes a SIM card. It added that this was half the cost of the LTE Cat-1 module AT&T launched with its supplier in 2016.
The company added that its current IoT starter kits with M14A2A modules will be software-upgradeable to LTE-M with an upcoming firmware update.