AT&T® Launches NB-IoT Due to Huge Subscriber Demand

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AT&T® has decided to add NB-IoT to their network toolbox since some subscribers are querying for an affordable IoT solution, and because it is an advanced technology for certain use cases. The fastest internet provider already offers LTE Category M1 and 1 for subs who wish to connect compatible devices and assets to IoT, but the carrier now says that narrowband IoT opens up fresh use cases.

“We already are using LTE-M, and based on a lot of customer feedback we felt that we needed complementary services for other use cases, such as in a fixed asset tracking environment with very low bandwidth uses,” said the Vice President of AT&T® Business’s IoT Solutions, Shiraz Hasan. “The motivation is cost savings primarily, and the other thing is the ability to utilize the tech a little better because it penetrates even better than LTE-M.”

Hasan also said that AT&T® has plenty of business subscribers in the alarm and security segments, and that many of those businesses are evaluating the technology and are learning that narrowband IoT may better serve their requirements.

Locks and alarms are often placed deep inside buildings, so making use of cellular connectivity for monitoring equipment’s condition necessitates radio transmissions that can go through thick walls. In fact, other business clients are also approaching the Dallas-based Telco giant about narrowband IoT.

“We have been approached by companies across many types of industries: electronics, appliances, commercial generators, HVAC installed on rooftops,” Hasan added. “They are not going to move but they need to provide data and info, if a state they are in changes.”

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He also said that construction businesses are showing interests in narrowband IoT since they can affix modules to portable equipment such as cranes and lighting, and use the technology to track those assets when they are not moving.

Besides, the IoT use cases that necessitate video or mobility may call for connectivity with higher bandwidth. The Telco remains committed to their LTE-M network, which they are using to connect the LTE-M Button powered by Amazon Web Services™. That IoT solution is affixed to supplies to allow businesses to reorder with a single touch, but Hasan believes that the same technology powered by the cloud services platform of Amazon can be applied to other use cases.

For instance, a worker in a factory could report machines that require service or repairs by pressing the IoT-powered button. “We are very committed to a dual path,” Hasan said. “We see LTE-M and NB-IoT as very complementary services.”

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