AT&T plans a nationwide deployment of its LTE-M network for the Internet of Things (IoT) during the second quarter of 2017, which is ahead of schedule. LTE-M will be available in Mexico by the end of the year. The rollout will ultimately support a North American footprint across AT&T’s LTE network, which covered some 400 million people in the U.S. and Mexico at the end of 2016.
The North American deployment follows a successful pilot of the LTE-M low power wide area network at AT&T Labs in October in San Ramon, California. AT&T has launched a second pilot location in Columbus, Ohio. Pilots will run through the end of March.
Devices designed to operate on the LTE-M network have advantages over “traditional” IoT connectivity options, according to AT&T:
- Lower device costs
- Longer battery life — up to 10 years
- Better coverage underground and deep inside buildings
- Small module size — as small as 1/6 the size of current modules.
AT&T Labs is working with technology firms and service providers to evaluate the performance of LTE-M network and chipset technology in a variety of situations:
- Smart water meters with Capstone Metering
- Smart pallets with RM2
- Smart beverage fountains with PepsiCo
- Consumer devices with Samsung
- Shipping container monitoring with Xirgo Technologies
- Connected vehicles and fleet and asset management with CalAmp
- Home security and automation with Telular (WRLS).