Verizon launches ‘LTE Cat M1’ IoT network

United States —

Verizon has launched the first nationwide commercial 4G LTE Category M1 (or LTE Cat M1) network, spanning 2.4 million square miles.

According to the operator, it is the first and only Cat M1 network providing scale, coverage and security for customers seeking wireless access solutions for IoT. Verizon’s Cat M1 network is built on a virtualized cloud environment which enables rapid and agile IoT solution deployment and nationwide scaling aimed at increasing IoT adoption for developers and businesses with new and more economical IoT data plans.

Verizon maintains a strong leadership position in IoT technology and solutions with a history of firsts, including the first deployment of 4G LTE, LTE Cat 1 and now LTE Cat M1. A game-changer for the industry, Cat M1 is a new class of LTE chipset that is designed for sensors. They require less power, offer extended battery life and support an array of use cases ranging from water meters to asset trackers to consumer electronics.

“We are very proud to again demonstrate our innovative leadership by providing this commercially available network for our customers, an industry first,” said Mike Haberman, Network Vice President at Verizon. “As the natural shift from CDMA-based IoT solutions to the more robust and cloud-based LTE technology occurs, it’s important we stay ahead of that technology evolution for our customers so we can continue to provide them service on the best and most advanced wireless network. Our commercial deployment of the nationwide LTE Cat M1 network does just that.”

Cat M1 device technology and pricing options

The operator said in a statement that the low bandwidth use cases for Cat M1 chipsets demand new types of data plans, including low rate, multi-year plans to match the longer useful life of devices. Cat M1 devices can economically scale on Verizon’s wireless network on data plans that are as low as $2 per month per device, with customized options available for bulk activations and volume purchases. By providing competitive rate plans, less expensive chipsets and a global platform to develop, manage and deploy IoT solutions on, Verizon claimed to offer innovators, developers and businesses a simple approach to scale from millions of connected devices to billions on 4G LTE at a cost structure that’s competitive with other technologies.

In collaboration with industry-leading partners, Verizon has enabled an open ecosystem for Cat M1 that includes infrastructure providers and manufacturers of chipsets, modules and devices. Verizon’s Cat M1 partners include industry leaders including Sequans, Telit, U-Blox, Sierra Wireless, Gemalto, Qualcomm Technologies, and Altair, who together with Verizon are solving for the next generation of IoT use cases. Today, Verizon offers certified chipsets, modules and devices for Cat M1 from Sequans, Telit, Qualcomm Technologies, Encore Networks, Link Labs, and NimbeLink.

Mike Lanman, Senior Vice President – Business Products and IoT at Verizon, calls Verizon’s launch of the nation’s first LTE Cat M1 network “a game changer for the industry, enabling a broad range of sensors and new categories of devices with better power efficiency and longer battery life than current IoT solutions. By launching this network with a fresh set of connectivity rate options, we’re not only continuing to lead the way for IoT, but we’re also enabling true scalability from millions to billions of IoT devices in a simple, secure manner and at a reduced cost to connect, all on America’s most reliable LTE network.”

Cat M1 paired with Verizon’s ThingSpace Platform and ThingSpace Client enable seamless and secure development, management and deployment of IoT solutions

ThingSpace is Verizon’s global, web-based IoT platform that enables developers and customers to create new IoT solutions and manage their IoT environments end-to-end from the device to the application level. With roughly 14,000 developers using the platform today, new APIs added regularly and global agreements to support connectivity in more than 175 countries, ThingSpace offers a simplified approach for building, deploying and managing IoT applications, which can be customized for a wide-range of IoT use cases such as asset management, industrial automation, wearables, smart city technologies, consumer electronics and more. Verizon’s new and more economical pricing for Cat M1 data plans includes a robust framework for developers with global customization options for APIs and connectivity, designed to reduce costs and speed to market on the ThingSpace platform.

When Cat M1 LTE chipsets that are pre-loaded with Verizon ThingSpace client are deployed (like the one offered by Qualcomm Technologies), customers, developers and end-users will receive a better, more turnkey experience. For example, in the consumer context, use of the ThingSpace client on a connected washing machine would allow the machine to securely and seamlessly connect to the 4GLTE network and communicate with the consumer or manufacturer regarding chore status and diagnostic information.