AT&T says its nationwide NB-IoT network is up and running

AT&T says NB-IoT is optimized for stationary use cases with basic data requirements like simple sensors, on-off buttons, smart agriculture, smoke detectors, door locks and industrial monitors. (Pixabay)

AT&T said it has officially turned on its narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) network after completing upgrades to its 4G LTE cell sites across the country.

 

With the arrival of the NB-IoT network, AT&T now offers business customers two low-power wide area networks (LPWANs) designed for IoT. “Both networks are designed for the IoT within licensed spectrum and provide carrier-grade security,” Chris Penrose, president of IoT Solutions at AT&T Business, in a blog post announcing the launch. “Having both networks offers our business customers more options to implement IoT solutions with security, interoperability, and lower costs.”

Sponsored by Ciena

Because you asked. Adaptive IP™

There’s a new way to modernize and expand your IP-based networks—from access to metro—that’s automated, open, and lean.

 

AT&T  launched its nationwide LTE-M network in May 2017 for IoT while it mulled over launching an NB-IoT network. The company at the time believed that LTE-M was the preferred IoT network technology because it offers two-way communication, greater capacity for throughput, and could handle voice.

 

RELATED: AT&T: Jury is still out on NB-IoT

 

Analysts expect NB-IoT to eventually be the dominant cellular standard for IoT devices, but say there is room for many forms of low power connectivity because a wide variety of devices will ultimately be connected.

 

In June 2018, AT&T announced it would join the fray and committed to launch its own NB-IoT network to operate alongside its LTE-M network. At the time, AT&T’s David Allen said the company views the two technologies as complementary to one another.

 

“NB-IoT is optimized for stationary use cases with basic data requirements like simple sensors, on-off buttons, smart agriculture, smoke detectors, door locks and industrial monitors,” Penrose said in the blog post. “LTE-M, with its greater bandwidth, can support firmware and software updates, mobility and voice-over services.”

 

He added that AT&T has deployed pet trackers, asset management, medical wearables, and utility meters so far over LTE-M.

 

RELATED: Marek’s Take: IoT visionaries say industry hasn’t lived up to its hype

 

Penrose said AT&T is working with suppliers to certify $5 modules that can connect devices to the NB-IoT network. He also said that multi-mode modules that support both NB-IoT and LTE-M “are not far behind.”

 

Rivals T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint all announced plans to launch NB-IoT networks within the 2018 time frame. T-Mobile was the first to market with its network, which went live in July 2018.

Read more on

Suggested Articles

Norway’s Telenor ditched Huawei in favor of Ericsson for 5G RAN, but Telefónica tapped the Chinese vendor for 5G RAN in Germany and 5G core in Spain.

Samsung Electronics is expanding its North American presence in wireless infrastructure, striking a deal with Canadian telecom operator Videotron.

AT&T said its 5G service, for both consumers and businesses, is now live in 10 markets.