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AT&T to Launch NarrowBand IoT Network in U.S. and Mexico

By Ken Briodagh
July 02, 2018

According to a recent release, AT&T will launch NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) to meet the growing needs of business customers for a wide range of IoT solutions. The carrier’s NB-IoT technology reportedly will complement its existing LTE-M network in the U.S. and Mexico.

NB-IoT and LTE-M are Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies that support massive IoT deployments. Both NB-IoT and LTE-M are supported in licensed spectrum and with carrier-grade security.

“We’ve seen global momentum for LPWA since launching our North American LTE-M network last year,” said Chris Penrose, President, IoT Solutions, AT&T. “Adding NB-IoT to our portfolio will expand our LPWA capabilities, help drive investment in our evolution to 5G and support our customers as they deploy IoT solutions across the U.S. and Mexico.”

The company said it plans to launch NB-IoT in the U.S. early next year, followed by Mexico by the end of 2019.

NB-IoT and LTE-M offer longer battery life, coverage extension, and lower costs than traditional cellular LTE connectivity. NB-IoT is ideally suited to meet basic data requirements, while LTE-M provides more robust capabilities including bandwidth for firmware and software updates, mobility and VoLTE (Voice over LTE) services.

A key to increasing LPWA adoption is building a broad base of ecosystem partners, devices and applications for global markets.  The introduction of NB-IoT and LTE-M dual-mode chipsets and modules means customers can support a wide range of applications globally.

Like LTE-M, NB-IoT technology will be deployed through software upgrades at cell sites across the U.S. and Mexico. Both will operate alongside the 4G LTE network and within the mobile 5G network. The AT&T 5G network is scheduled to launch in parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of this year.

AT&T switched on its North American LTE-M enabled commercial site in 2016 and launched its nationwide LTE-M U.S. network in the second quarter of 2017. In the fourth quarter of 2017, it launched an LTE-M network in Mexico.


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

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