T-Mobile certifies Sequans' LTE Cat 1 chipset in pursuit of the IoT

Internet of things

Sequans scored another win this morning with the news that T-Mobile has certified its Calliope LTE Cat 1 chipset for use by the carrier’s M2M and IoT customers.

Like some other emerging cellular-based technologies, LTE Cat 1 is being developed specifically for IoT use cases. It offers a maximum of 10 Mbps downlink speed compared to LTE’s peak downlink of 300 Mbps and is intended to connect smaller devices that require less power, transmit less data and are low-cost compared to smartphones and other consumer gadgets.

The Calliope chipset supports VoLTE and enables industrial and consumer IoT applications such as asset tracking, alarm systems, telematics devices, retail applications and smart utility meters. AT&T approved the chipset in May, and Verizon certified it one month earlier.

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The news marks the first LTE Cat 1 chipset certified for use on T-Mobile’s network, the carrier said. T-Mobile’s customer partners are already developing solutions using Sequans’ technology and some of those offerings are expected to come to market “in the near future.”

“LTE Cat 1 enables 4G solutions to rival 2G/3G in cost while providing much greater longevity,” Sequans CEO Georges Karam said in a press release. “This means T-Mobile’s customers have access to a leading wireless network that is scalable and secure with broad coverage, along with affordable, long-lived connectivity solutions for successful IoT and M2M business models.”

In a separate announcement Tuesday, T-Mobile unveiled a partnership with Novatel Wireless to deliver IoT offerings to small and medium-sized businesses looking to implement connected retail solutions. Customers can pay $40 a month for the service, which is branded Ignite and sold by Novatel, to receive hardware, cloud management, support and 3 GB of wireless data with T-Mobile service.  

And in May the cloud communications firm Twilio announced a partnership with T-Mobile to introduce what it called the first communications platform designed for developers to easily program cellular connectivity. The platform uses APIs to help developers and businesses enable a variety of IoT-based services for any device connected to the cellular network.

T-Mobile has been relatively quiet on the IoT front compared to some of its competitors -- CEO John Legere appeared to dismiss some offerings as generating “cents, not dollars” per month – but the carrier is clearly stepping up its pursuit of the market. And it aims to gain traction by employing the same uncarrier strategy that has helped it gain such momentum in the consumer segment.

“T-Mobile’s strategy is helping IoT customers solve pain points… by using best-in-class partners who know the specific needs of their customers and market,” a T-Mobile representative told FierceWireless via email. “That allows T-Mobile to focus on what we know best – wireless connectivity – and our partners can then deliver unique solutions to help their customers step in to a more connected world.”

For more:
- see this Sequans press release

Related articles:
T-Mobile CEO promises to 'disrupt' IoT market, blasts AT&T's 'low-value' IoT business
T-Mobile eases into IoT through Twilio's new Programmable Wireless service for developers
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