AT&T this week said it has completed the launch of its nationwide LTE-M network in the United States ahead of schedule, and is now turning its attention to doing the same in Mexico.
Back in February, AT&T accelerated its timeline for deployment of the IoT network following the successful completion of pilots in California and Ohio. The carrier at the time indicated it was hoping to finish its stateside launch by the end of the second quarter. AT&T on Thursday said the U.S. LTE-M network is now live and plans are in place to complete a roll out of the technology in Mexico by the end of this year. Together, the U.S. and Mexico LTE-M networks will create a footprint covering some 400 million people, AT&T said.
According to the carrier, its LTE-M network was enabled thanks to software upgrades across its footprint. The carrier is separately planning to deploy four carrier aggregation and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technologies on its network via software upgrades later this year. More on that here.
The announcement comes just two days after Sprint fleshed out its own plans for IoT network deployments. The carrier said it plans to have LTE Cat-1 fully launched across its network by the end of July, and will begin deploying LTE Cat-M in the middle of next year. Further details can be found here.
AT&T has previously said LTE-M will help facilitate large-scale IoT deployments and noted LTE-M devices have been designed for lower cost, longer battery life, better underground and indoor coverage, and smaller module sizes than traditional IoT devices.
Last summer, AT&T rolled out an IoT Starter Kit alongside Cisco and Avnet to help potential customers get started. AT&T SVP of Internet of Things Solutions Chris Penrose at the time called the kit a “one-stop shop” to help bring developers’ IoT ideas to life, and this week noted the kit is upgradable to LTE-M via an upcoming firmware update. AT&T indicated LTE-M modules – plus SIM card – will be available for as low as $7.50 each, which the carrier noted is half the cost of the LTE Cat-1 module it launched last year.
Data plans for those looking to deploy IoT solutions are already on the table as well. AT&T offers prepaid IoT data plans in three tiers: 1 GB of data that can be used over 12 months and 500 SMS messages for $25, 3 GB of data over a year and 1,000 SMS messages for $60, or 5 GB of data and 1,500 SMS messages over 24 months for $100. The carrier also said Thursday it is launching a new suite of rate plans for LTE-M starting as low as $1.50 per month per device for 0 KB of data.
Filed Under: Infrastructure, IoT • IIoT • internet of things • Industry 4.0