T-Mobile plans to initially deploy a Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network in Las Vegas next month with the goal of completing the deployment across the country by 2018 as a part of an effort to advance its IoT push. Along with the NB-IoT network deployment, T-Mobile also announced that it will roll out support for the Cat-M IoT standard for voice services in 2018. To help the manufacturers and developers of connected devices release their product to the market, the Un-carrier confirmed the availability of the first NB-IoT modules from Sierra Wireless, Telit and u-blox in 2018, with initial testing on those modules being conducted in T-Mobile’s labs. Once the testing phase is completed, connected device makers will be able to bring their products online on T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network.
Field tests for the NB-IoT kicked off earlier this year in partnership with giant chipmaker Qualcomm and Ericsson. The testing process was completed in July of this year, making T-Mobile the first carrier in the country to have done so using 200KHz of its AWS spectrum, which is typically applied to high-bandwidth LTE connections. The same spectrum is also expected to support part of T-Mobile’s 5G rollout in the future. According to T-Mobile, the NB-IoT standard provides a more efficient way of fueling IoT applications because it can transmit data on a small spectrum. That means an NB-IoT network will be able to reach far-flung areas as it has longer battery life and faster speed to help organizations connect to as many devices as they can with a stable data stream without spending large amounts of money.
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In addition to expanding its network to meet the connectivity requirements of customers, T-Mobile has also launched a new set of IoT solutions called SyncUP FLEET that is built to help businesses manage and reduce the cost of fuel and minimize maintenance issues of their vehicles. The cloud-based IoT solution features connected hardware and several management tools that are accessible via any mobile device or desktop computers. In order to use the SyncUP FLEET device, users need to plug it into their vehicle’s standard on-board diagnostics port. The solution is set for rollout in the fall for $3 per month, with a $15 monthly charge per vehicle for unlimited mobile data plan.