America’s third largest carrier, T-Mobile US, has announced a new Internet-of-Things Access pack module, including a Cat-1 LTE modem and bundled wireless data. T-Mobile US’ Senior Vice President, Doug Chartier, explained that the self-proclaimed Uncarrier is aiming to simplify the task of providing Internet-of-Things (known as IoT) access so as to encourage innovation in this new and rapidly developing area. T-Mobile’s new IoT Access packs are based around providing everything that a developer or business needs to get their IoT project up and running. There are two plans available for customers and the cheaper one costs $20 for the first year, per device, which provides up to 5 MB of monthly data. The second and subsequent years will cost just $6 per device, per annum. This is being billed as perfect for those applications and projects with low Internet access needs. Alternatively, customers can pay $25 per device, per year for an unlimited data allowance but with a capped data transfer speed of 64 kbps - and for a limited time, T-Mobile US is offering $5 off the first year. Each of these IoT Access packs also comes with a free Sequans Cat1 LTE module, whereby the customer is refunded via a bill credit of up to $16 per module.
Chartier explains that other carriers over complicate IoT network access: developers must buy their own wireless module and negotiate with the carrier for a data plan, which in T-Mobile US’ opinion will be overpriced. T-Mobile’s offering simplifies and reduces the expense, and should help stimulate IoT development. Furthermore, looking forwards T-Mobile US has announced it will continue to work towards offering “Category M” and “Narrowband IoT” (NB-IoT) networking technologies, which are being designed for the IoT market in mind by offering low size together with high efficiency components. T-Mobile US also highlighted that they were are working closely within the IoT industry, including offering network support for Category 1 LTE modems, extending legacy 2G network support until at least 2020, and introducing new a wireless development platform, a wireless system optimized for the retail sector and the T-Mobile SyncUP DRIVE all-in-one connected car solution.
The global market for Internet-of-Things products is considered to number in the billions in the next few years. A large number of manufacturers, developers and carriers are working towards building the infrastructure, devices and “killer apps” for tomorrow’s interconnected devices. T-Mobile US’ plans to simplify the LTE modem and plan offering should certainly encourage both developers to use IoT technology and may also invigorate competition between the carriers to improve their IoT offerings.