AT&T to Introduce its NB-IoT Network in the US and Mexico

AT&T is set to introduce NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solutions to fulfill the growing need of business customers for more IoT solutions. AT&T’s NB-IoT technology will complement its existing LTE-M network in the U.S. and Mexico.

NB-IoT and LTE-M are Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies that support massive IoT deployments. Both NB-IoT and LTE-M use the licensed spectrum and have carrier-grade security. AT&T has seen a global momentum for LPWA since launching its North American LTE-M network last year. Adding NB-IoT to its portfolio will expand the company’s LPWA capabilities and help drive investment in their evolution to 5G and support customers as they deploy IoT solutions across the U.S. and Mexico.

AT&T plans to launch NB-IoT in the U.S. early next year, followed by Mexico by the end of 2019. Their investment in NB-IoT and LTE-M will be future-ready. These technologies are expected to become part of the industry’s massive IoT standards.

NB-IoT and LTE-M, both offer longer battery life, coverage extension, and lower costs than traditional cellular LTE connectivity. NB-IoT is ideally suited to meet basic data requirements, while LTE-M provides more robust capabilities including bandwidth for firmware and software updates, mobility and VoLTE (Voice over LTE) services. A key to increasing LPWA adoption is building a broad base of ecosystem partners, devices and applications for global markets. The introduction of NB-IoT and LTE-M dual-mode chipsets and modules means customers can support a wide range of applications globally.

Like LTE-M, NB-IoT technology will be deployed through software upgrades at cell sites across the U.S. and Mexico. Both will operate alongside AT&T’s 4G LTE network and within the mobile 5G network. AT&T’s 5G network is scheduled to launch in parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of this year. Both NB-IoT and LTE-M have clear advantages over technologies that operate in unlicensed spectrum. These include greater protections from interference, broader coverage availability and carrier-grade security.

According to GSMA, the mobile wireless operators’ association, 24 mobile operators have commercially launched 48 mobile IoT networks worldwide across both NB-IoT and LTE-M. GSMA forecasts 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections by 2025. AT&T switched on North America’s first LTE-M enabled commercial site in 2016 and launched nationwide LTE-M U.S. network in the second quarter of 2017. In the fourth quarter of last year it launched its LTE-M network in Mexico, establishing the first North American LTE-M footprint.

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