AT&T Moves On IoT Expansion With LTE-M Network Deployment

May 19, 2017 - Written By Justin Diaz

AT&T has made a move on the Internet of Things recently with the deployment of its LET-M network, which it says has reached completion and is now rolled out across its 4G LTE network nationwide. For AT&T and for its customers, this marks an improvement to the use of IoT devices on AT&T’s services and the carrier is boasting that completion of the LTE-M network is ahead of schedule, which is truly good news for customers who subscribe to AT&T services and have connected home products.

In addition to rolling out LTE-M nationwide in the U.S. AT&T also plans to start rolling out the network in Mexico as well with a planned completion date of sometime near the end of this year. AT&T doesn’t give a specific time frame for the Mexico LTE-M deployment but consumers in the region who use AT&T’s services can probably expect it to sometime within the last few months. Once that deployment is finished AT&T says that the whole of its North American  LTE-M network will cover a total of around 400 million people, though that number isn’t necessarily representative of how many people will actually be using AT&T’s services with the LTE-M network for connecting IoT products, rather it’s describing how many people would be able to connect up to the network if they were to subscribe to the services that AT&T offers.

AT&T’s LTE-M advancements seek to bring a whole set of useful improvements to the table. According to the carrier its LTE-M network introduces smaller size modules boasting a size that is one-sixth the size of those currently used by the carrier for the same purposes. In addition to that the costs of IoT devices should go down, and the network will promote lower power use, more specifically a longer battery life over the lifetime of the devices, as AT&T highlights the potential for device batteries to last up to 10 years. The LTE-M network should also help penetrate buildings better which, is great since most people’s IoT equipment is likely going to be inside the house, and the same goes for businesses who have IoT devices set up although perhaps more so given that most businesses with IoT devices inside their buildings will be in buildings that are harder to penetrate than the average home. AT&T’s complete deployment of LTE-M across their nationwide 4G LTE network in the U.S. follows their pilot rollout of the network which began in the beginning of last October.