T-Mobile announced what it's quick to proclaim as the first narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) plan in the country, starting at $6 per year for a maximum of 12MB per a connected device. The Bellevue, Washington-based wireless carrier claims its latest offering is the best option for businesses in need of an Internet connection for embedded systems which don't use a lot of bandwidth but still must consistently communicate with the World Wide Web. The plan is primarily targeting sensors and various enterprise applications of Internet of Things technologies including connected agriculture solutions and smart cities. The nature of NB-IoT prevents voice support and isn't suitable for use cases that require more than a minimal level of bandwidth but anyone whose needs extend beyond T-Mobile's newest offering may be able to find what they're seeking from the company's Cat-1 IoT Access Packs. The mobile service provider also vowed to launch a national Cat-M network shortly after making its NB-IoT one available throughout the country.
Verizon is already offering Cat-M plans which T-Mobile is now seeking to undercut, though the $6 price is only said to be available for a "limited time," a period that the carrier has yet to clarify. A countrywide launch of the firm's NB-IoT network is expected in mid-2018, just over half a year after T-Mobile's deployment initially started. The third largest wireless service provider in the United States often reiterated NB-IoT is a major step toward the fifth generation of mobile networks specifically optimized for IoT use cases and didn't fail to do the same as part of the announcement detailing its latest plan. As the firm's network is built using LTE-Advanced solutions and the 3GPP standard, it should be upgradeable to 5G at a later date, which is primarily what T-Mobile is referring to when promoting it in the context of a milestone in the upcoming wireless revolution.
As expected, T-Mobile is specifically targeting its new plan at enterprise customers, the segment in which it has yet to establish itself as a competitor to larger telecoms in the country, though it opted for an approach similar to the one employed in the consumer space – undercutting its rivals. The carrier is likely to share more details on its networking endeavors later this year as the 5G race gets closer to the finish line.