AT&T’s LTE Cat M (LTE-M) network is now live across the U.S. on the company’s nationwide LTE network after software upgrades. The deployment was ahead of schedule and comes approximately seven weeks after rival Verizon launched its own LTE-M offering. In an earlier techblog post this week, Sprint said it will deploy LTE-M in mid 2018.
The network will enable a new generation of devices and applications related to Internet of Things (IoT). The company is rolling out new rate plans with the LTE-M, starting from $1.50 per month per device, excluding SIM card fee, other setup charges, applicable taxes and fees. AT&T will also offer discounts for yearly and multiyear plans and volume commitments.
Customers can also get LTE-M modules from an AT&T supplier, starting from $7.50 each, including a SIM card, but excluding applicable taxes and fees. The software for the company’s current IoT starter kits will also be upgradeable to LTE-M with an upcoming firmware update, the company said May 18.
“Our nationwide LTE-M deployment is another example of AT&T’s continued investment and leadership in IoT,” said Chris Penrose, president of IoT Solutions at AT&T, in a press release. “We can now reach new places and connect new things at a price that’s more affordable than ever before. Our LTE-M starter kit will also spur developers to open the doors to IoT innovation.”
AT&T said it plans to deploy LTE-M across Mexico by the end of the year, which will create a “North American LTE-M footprint covering 400 million people.” The company first spoke of a potential LTE-M Mexico rollout at CES in January.
LTE-M – also know as category M1 (Cat-M1) – is one of three LPWA technologies licensed by 3GPP. The other technologies are NB-IoT and EC GSM IoT. US operators are particularly keen on LTE-M, though the technology also notably received backing in Europe from Orange and KPN.
Sigfox continues to be the largest LPWA network with LoRa WAN picking up a lot of support, as we’ve outlined in many previous techblog posts.
FTTP & Residential Broadband Bundles:
AT&T’s CFO sees residential broadband as a growth area again with FTTP driving adoption of triple play service bundles.
John Stephens, CFO of AT&T, told investors during the MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit that customers in the fiber markets are purchasing multi-service bundles that incorporate either satellite or IPTV and wireless.
“The exciting part about fiber is what it’s doing to churn when you bundle it with wireless, when you bundle it with video and when it eliminates our position as one product offering to the home,” Stephenson said. “Now, with the video offering, I have the broadband to go with it.”