AT&T Launches North America’s First LTE-M Site to Grow IoT

IEEE 5G Initiative

United States —

AT&T last week started North America’s first LTE-M enabled commercial site, beginning a process that will transform the Internet of Things (IoT) for years to come.

AT&T has enabled LTE-M technology on its first site in the San Francisco market to support the pilot of AT&T’s LTE-M Low-Power Wide-Area network at the AT&T Labs in San Ramon. AT&T intends to make LTE-M technology widely available across its commercial network throughout 2017.

LTE-M will offer a unique combination of enhanced coverage and longer battery life with carrier-grade security for a new generation of industries and applications. Advanced LTE-M network will bring the Internet of Things to more devices and markets than ever before

LTE-M will connect a wide variety of IoT solutions challenged by existing network technology. These include smart utility meters, asset monitoring, vending machines, alarm systems, fleet, heavy equipment, mHealth and wearables.

Key features and benefits expected from LTE-M are:

  • Lower costs for modules that connect IoT devices to the LTE network.
  • Longer battery life; up to 10 years for certain enabled IoT devices.
  • Better coverage for IoT devices underground and deep inside buildings.

“We’ve joined with Altair, Ericsson and technology leaders from across the ecosystem to launch the first LTE-M enabled commercial site in North America,” said Chris Penrose, president, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “Innovations like LTE-M will bring IoT to more end points than ever before. It’s part of our strategy to offer the widest range of IoT network options to our customers.”

Enterprise customers and technology leaders are collaborating on the LTE-M pilot. Participants in the pilot will include:

Badger Meter – analyze how the LTE-M network, which is dedicated to supporting the IoT, may be used to enhance communications for smart water devices.

CalAmp – explore how the LTE-M network can help companies more efficiently manage their connected vehicles and assets.

Capstone Metering – demonstrate how LTE-M can improve Smart Cities sensor technologies. It will look to increase battery life and improve connectivity and sensor monitoring for underground smart water meters.

PepsiCo — examine and test ways that sensors can improve the in-store experience with smart vending solutions for the thousands of PepsiCo products consumers love and enjoy.

Samsung – evaluate an LTE-M-based solution to enhance performance for consumer solutions. This may include wearables or other consumer devices.

The pilot will also include solutions from a robust contingent of technology providers:  Altair, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Sierra Wireless, Telit, u-blox, Wistron NeWeb Corp. (WNC), and Xirgo Technologies.  The technology is expected to be available to customers outside of the pilot starting in 2017.