AT&T, one of the best internet providers in the US, is speeding up the development of a LTE-M network and si gearing up to deploy it by the mid-2017. LTE-M is an IoT network that is currently used in tracking shipping containers and pallets, monitoring water usage, and connecting fleets. In a recent press release, AT&T announced that it would provide nationwide LTE-M coverage by the middle of the year. This new statement has updated the deployment of the network six months ahead of schedule.
This updated schedule for the nationwide rollout of the network came after the successful pilot conducted at AT&T Labs in San Ramon, California. “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, who is AT&T’s president for IoT Solutions. “We are 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.”
Through this initiative, AT&T will provide LTE network across the country and by the end of the year, extend the services to Mexico too. This will aid in creating an extensive network coverage area for businesses operating on both sides of the border. The new move by AT&T comes ahead of the growing market for connected devices. Many companies like Samsung, Xirgo Technologies, Capstone Metering, PepsiCo, Telular, RM2, and CalAmp already use the IoT network for their enterprise and consumer applications.
LTE-M is among the several LPWANs (Low Power, Wide Area Networks) that link sensors and other devices to the Internet of Things. Taking into consideration the speed of data transfer, the LTE-M is slower than the conventional LTE connections utilized by smartphones. LTE-M provides a top speed of 1 Mbps within a range of up to hundred kilometers, and has higher penetration property though walls. These networks and the other NB-IoT are based on LTE, which are designed to move over the licensed spectrum of the carriers.
According to analyst Daryl Schoolar, they may be the best available options for enterprises with security concerns. Deployment of the LTE-M service by AT&T will make it a major player in the field along with many mobile operators and internet providers like Orange, SoftBank, etc. Together with this, the carrier has already started the first commercial trial of LTE-M in California, Columbus, and Ohio.