AT&T plans nationwide deployment of its LTE-M network for the internet of things (IoT) ahead of schedule in second quarter of 2017. The carrier also plans LTE-M availability in Mexico by the end of the year.IHS Markit: Critical Communications LTE Market to Hit US$2.6B by 2020
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LTE-M is a low-power wide-area technology. The rollout will ultimately support a North American footprint across the AT&T Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the U.S. and Mexico, which covers nearly 400 million people in the U.S. and Mexico.
The plans follow a pilot of the AT&T LTE-M network at AT&T Labs in San Ramon, California. The company switched on North America's first LTE-M enabled commercial site in October to support the pilot with other ecosystem players.
Devices designed to operate on the LTE-M network have advantages compared with traditional IoT connectivity options, including lower device costs, longer battery life up to 10 years, better coverage underground and deep inside buildings, and module size as small as one-sixth the size of current modules, a statement said.
"Thanks to the success of our pilot, we're on track to support LTE-M devices across our commercial network in the U.S. and Mexico ahead of schedule," said Chris Penrose, president, IoT solutions, AT&T. "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."
At AT&T Labs, staff is working with tech leaders and providers to evaluate the performance of LTE-M network and chipset technology in a variety of situations. The companies are testing LTE-M network and chipset technology in smart water meters, shipping container monitoring, and connected vehicles and fleet and asset management, company officials said.
The company launched a second LTE-M pilot location in the Columbus, Ohio, market with RM2, Capstone and other industry leaders. The company will continue the LTE-M pilots in San Ramon and Columbus with more players through the end of March.
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