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T-Mobile IoT pricing plan targets device makers

Building on its movement into the internet of things (IoT) market, T-Mobile US on Monday announced a new IoT-specific pricing model as part of a promotion that includes a free Cat1 LTE module along with data services. The move came in the run-up to CES 2017, which will focus heavily on the smart, connected objects and devices that comprise the internet of things.

Dubbed the IoT Access Pack, T-Mobile customers can buy 5 MB per month for $20 per year per device for the first year, dropping to $6 per year per device in the second year. The higher-tier option includes unlimited data capped at 64 Kbps for $25 per year per device; a limited promotion drops $5 off that price for each device. Both IoT Access Pack options include the free Cat1 LTE module, which developers can use to connect devices to the T-Mobile LTE network. The company said the new IoT packages are meant “to help accelerate IoT innovation and eliminate the pain of piecing together wireless IoT solutions.”

“Like everything they do, the carriers over-complicate the internet of things, and that leads to more hassle and cost for customers,” SVP Doug Chartier said. “The wireless industry needs simpler options for IoT to take off, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”

The carrier also said in a statement it “is continuing to work to deliver” solutions for Category M and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) “based on market and customer needs.”

In October AT&T unveiled mobile-specific IoT rate plans and a scheduled trial of enhanced Machine Type Communication technology in San Francisco next month. The new prepaid plans, which target developers and businesses, include three tiers of data and text messages: 1 gigabyte of data valid for up to 1 year and 500 text messages for $25; 3 GB of data valid for up to 1 year and 1,000 text messages for $60; and 5 GB of data valid for up to 2 years and 1,500 text messages for $100.

The IoT rate plans came ahead of AT&T’s long-planned Dec. 31, 2016, shutdown of its 2G network; the carrier worked well ahead of time to migrate IoT customers to 3G and LTE connections. Looking to capitalize on AT&T’s 2G network shutdown, in September T-Mobile began offering AT&T Mobility IoT customers a free SIM card and free 2G service through the end of 2016. T-Mobile says its “new spectrum-efficient 2G GSM optimization” will allow support of 2G services through 2020.

T-Mobile uses Telit Cat1 and Cat4 LTE modules for its IoT services. Based in London, Telit specializes in IoT modules, connectivity, platforms and other managed services. Specifically, T-Mobile offers Telit’s LE910-NA1, which provides quad-band Cat1 support, and LE910-NA V2, which provides quad-band Cat4 support, according to Telit. Cat1 is an LTE UE specification that equates to a 10 Mbps downlink and 5 Mbps uplink. Cat4 refers to a 150 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink.




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