Verizon has turned on its nationwide NB-IoT network this week, which the carrier claims covers 92% of the U.S. population.
The network is designed to connect devices that require data rates less than 100 kbps. The network can manage both IP and non-IP traffic. Non-IP traffic management can be used for devices and solutions that aren’t traditionally connected on mobile networks, the carrier said, such as alarm panels, environmental sensors, industrial appliances, factory equipment and parking meters. Verizon said the network can also be used in smart city and smart building applications, industrial IoT, utilities, agriculture and asset tracking.
“There is a whole universe of smart solutions needing scalable and affordable connections,” said Jeffrey Dietel, SVP of business marketing and products at Verizon, in a statement.
The carrier has introduced an NB-IoT “Standard Price Plan,” which offers 50 KB of data with a $1.00 monthly access fee per device. Verizon said the data allowance can be shared between devices on the same account. The network uses a dedicated frequency of 180 kHz bandwidth designated for IoT applications, which Verizon said doesn’t share spectrum resources with smartphone traffic.
“We have engineered our NB-IoT network in the Guard Band of our spectrum,” said Bill Stone, VP of technology development and planning at Verizon. “By using the more complex Guard Band solution for our Narrowband IoT network, we are demonstrating very efficient use of spectrum assets while giving customers the breadth of options they need to best meet their needs.”
Verizon has partnered with chipset and module manufacturers for its NB-IoT network. The carrier said three module makers, including Telit, SIM-COM and Quectel, are in the final stages of testing modules, and will be available for use in IoT development on the new network. The NB-IoT network joins Verizon’s portfolio of IoT solutions, including its LTE Cat 1 and LTE Cat M1 networks, and its Thingspace platform, which handles connectivity management, location and security functions for customers’ IoT deployments.
Rival AT&T launched its NB-IoT network earlier this year, while Sprint has said it will deploy NB-IoT if it sees enough customer demand.