AT&T Flips the Switch on North America’s First LTE-M Commercial Site

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Connecting LTE-M to the Internet of Things (IoT) in San Francisco, AT&T has begun North America’s first LTE-M enabled commercial site. The company said that this is the beginning of a process that “will transform the Internet of Things for years to come.”
The San Francisco site is enabled to support the pilot of AT&T’s LTE-M Low-Power Wide-Area network at the AT&T Labs in San Ramon, according to ITWire. Plans are for LTE-M to grow across the entire commercial network by 2017.
ITWire noted several features and benefits of the new technology, including:

  • The ability to offer “a unique combination of enhanced coverage and longer battery life with carrier-grade security for a new generation of industries and applications.”
  • Connection to “a wide variety of IoT solutions challenged by existing network technology,” like smart utility meters, asset monitoring, vending machines, alarm systems, fleet, heavy equipment, mHealth and wearables.
  • 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.

Additionally, AT&T told ITWire its enterprise customers are helping with the LTE-M pilot, with participants including Badger Meter, CalAmp, Capstone Metering, PepsiCo and Samsung. Badger Meter is taking a look at how the LTE-M network can enhance smart water device communications while CalAmp is studying the network in terms of connected vehicles and assets.
Capstone Metering is reviewing improvement of Smart Cities sensor technologies, battery life and connectivity with underground smart water meters while PepsiCo is testing sensors in terms of the in-store experience with smart vending solutions.
Samsung is working on wearable and consumer device solutions. AT&T expects technology from additional providers to be available outside of the pilot launch in 2017.
November 1, 2016