Among the Big Four carriers in the United States, T-Mobile now holds the distinction of being the first to complete live network tests of Narrowband LTE technology for Internet of Things (or NB-IoT for short). The third biggest mobile operator in the country achieved this with the help of tech giants Qualcomm and Ericsson across a number of sites on its network in the city of Las Vegas in Nevada. The trials were done utilizing 200 KiloHertz of the carrier’s advanced wireless services (AWS) airwaves. Also, T-Mobile also took the opportunity to announce a new partnership it struck with Las Vegas in rolling out IoT related wireless offerings.
As explained by Neville Ray, the chief technical officer of T-Mobile, via an official press release, the overall objective of the company’s investment in Narrowband IoT is to make sure that T-Mobile’s customers will be able to launch their respective IoT products to the market at the soonest opportunity, while being ensured of optimum connection quality, enhanced battery life performance, and generous cost savings, all made possible through a dedicated LTE network specifically designed for IoT devices or gadgets.
NB-IoT is a form of technology that is actually already being deployed by various wireless carriers based in certain European and Asian regions. Because the technology is predicated on the use of a low power wide area network (WAN) network, it is able to offer a few advantages that GSM/GPRS can not.
According to T-Mobile, it is joining forces with the City of Lights in conducting tests related to the carrier’s IoT initiatives, including flood abatement, smart city lighting, and environmental tracking. The trials are being done just off the Las Vegas Strip, specifically in the Las Vegas Innovation District, a site allotted for experimenting with new forms of wireless tech.
This latest move from T-Mobile is quite a departure from what its rivals (particularly the industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T) are doing in the field of IoT. Some may remember that back in March early this year, the Big Red had started rolling out its LTE Cat M1 network for IoT across the United States. But when it comes to NB-IoT, Verizon does not appear to view this tech with much priority, stating instead that it has no definite deployment plans for this tech at present.
As for AT&T, while it had announced that it had completed its deployment of its LTE-M network for IoT ahead of schedule nearly a couple of months ago, it is still in the process of carefully reviewing NB-IoT, and is no hurry to start rolling out the tech soon.
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