T-Mobile declares nationwide launch of NB-IoT, beating AT&T

US wireless operator T-Mobile has launched its Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) service nationwide – as part of its 5G strategy.
Neville Ray, chief technology officer of T-Mobile
T-Mobile has worked with Sweden-based Ericsson, Finland-based Nokia and US-based Qualcomm to deploy NB-IoT.

T-Mobile is the first to launch NB-IoT in the U.S. and first in the world to launch NB-IoT in the guard bands for optimal efficiency of spectrum. T-Mobile was also the first US telecom operator to conduct trials of NB-IoT.

AT&T earlier said it will launch NB-IoT to meet the needs of business customers for IoT solutions early next year in the US. NB-IoT technology will complement existing LTE-M network in the U.S. and Mexico.

According to GSMA, 24 mobile operators have commercially launched 48 mobile IoT networks worldwide across both NB-IoT and LTE-M. GSMA forecasts 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections by 2025.

T-Mobile CONNECT is the new partner program to help IoT solution providers collaborate and bring their products and services to market on T-Mobile’s network — and into the hands of customers — more quickly.

“We’re always innovating to bring customers the latest technology, and NB-IoT is the globally-preferred standard to power IoT applications,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile.

NB-IoT — built on the 3GPP standard — is a low power, wide area network (LPWAN) LTE-Advanced technology and offers many benefits like low power usage, long battery life and low device cost.

T-Mobile aims to utilize spectrum resources more efficiently by using the guard bands for launching NB-IoT. T-Mobile said IoT applications don’t have to compete with other data traffic for network resources.

T-Mobile’s NB-IoT plan costs $6 a year – one tenth of Verizon’s Cat-M plans – for up to 12 MB per connected device, and several NB-IoT modules based on Qualcomm MDM9206 LTE IoT modem are certified for use on T-Mobile’s network.

T-Mobile also offers Cat-1 IoT Access Packs for applications that require more bandwidth and voice.

The wireless operator said NB-IoT plan includes 10 single-packet transactions per hour at up to 64 Kbps, up to 12 MB. T-Mobile said it’s not promising full coverage of NB-IoT in some areas.