Twilio readies developer platform and SDK for T-Mobile’s NB-IoT

T-Mobile is expanding into the IoT. (OCF)

Twilio on Thursday announced a new developer platform and software development kit (SDK) for T-Mobile’s narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network. The SIM-based IoT offering is a low-power technology designed to reduce costs and battery drain on low-bandwidth connections.

Twilio’s narrowband developer platform is an expansion of its “Programmable Wireless” service, which was first made available on T-Mobile in April. Earlier this year, T-Mobile launched what it said is the first NB-IoT service in the United States. The carrier’s partnership with Twilio was first announced in May 2016, but it remained in beta for almost two years.

“Together with Twilio, the Un-carrier is unleashing developers and building an entirely new ecosystem for IoT solutions,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a release.

NB-IoT is more efficient than previous cellular M2M services because the majority of IoT devices such as smart meters and fitness trackers don’t require a lot of bandwidth and only need intermittent access to cellular connectivity, according to Twilio. The introduction of NB-IoT service on T-Mobile should increase the development and production of lower cost, battery-efficient IoT devices.

Twilio says its narrowband developer platform will be available as a beta service in the United States in early 2019. Pricing will range from $2 per month for a developer plan to $10 per year for a production plan. Developers will also have access to reduced pricing for five-year plans and large-scale deployments. The platform is comprised of narrowband SIMs, a NB-IoT developer kit and a new SDK.

“We see Twilio as part of a new wave of IoT connectivity providers that is disrupting the market by reducing the friction for developers. We think its offer is especially well suited to the narrowband market, where operational costs need to be kept extremely low," Tom Rebbeck, research director at Analysys Mason, said in a prepared statement.

NB-IoT networks could exceed 3 billion connections by 2026 as more devices and applications are introduced to consumer electronics, utilities, agriculture, smart cities and other industries, according to Rebbeck.

“The introduction of T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network provides a tremendous opportunity for developers who are innovating and building new categories of devices that don’t exist today,” Chetan Chaudhary, general manager and vice president of IoT at Twilio, said in the release.