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).

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