AT&T sets flat-rate full-fat LTE-M plan at £30 per month – per AT&T IoT device
AT&T has introduced a flat-rate full-fat LTE-M data plan in the US of £30 per month for unlimited data.
The One Rate subscription applies only to AT&T-approved IoT LTE-M devices, and to single devices at a time – data cannot be pooled across multiple internet-of-things (IoT) devices, said AT&T.
Throughput speeds are capped at 64kbps, and communications must be stop-start; customers are precluded from making a continuous data connection.
AT&T debuted LTE-M in the US in 2016, rolling out services nationwide in the second quarter of 2017. It debuted LTE-M in Mexico at the end of 2017, following trials in Tijuana and Puebla. It will launch voice over LTE (VoLTE) for LTE-M early next year.
The US carrier has also confirmed it will launch a parallel narrowband ‘internet-of-things’ (NB-IoT) network in the US early next year, and in Mexico by the end of next year. Wider deployment will come next year after commercial pilots with enterprise customers in Chicago during the fourth quarter, and in Phoenix early year.
Of low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies, LTE-M is designed for compact, portable IoT devices that require longer battery life and carrier-grade security.
The technology works well deep inside buildings and hard-to-reach places, it said, and variously with asset trackers, fleet tracking, smart watches, alarm panels, pet trackers, smart home appliances, patient monitors, gas/water meters and point-of-sale devices.
By contrast, AT&T said NB-IoT works best for stationary simple on-off or full-empty use cases, citing smoke detectors, smart parking sensors, smart agriculture sensors, electric meters, industrial monitors, building automation and water leak detection devices.
Sixty-six LTE-M and NB-IoT networks have so far been deployed in 30 markets on six continents, according to the GSMA.
The GSMA forecasts 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections by 2025. Ericsson thinks the number will be twice that, doubling its own forecast for cellular-based IoT connections in June to 3.5 billion by 2023, from around 0.6 billion million today.
ABI Research reckons the rate of growth of licensed LPWA network connections will outpace their unlicensed equivalents as the LPWA market swells by 53 per cent per year over the next five years. NB-IoT and LTE-M will capture more than 55 per cent of LPWA connections by 2023, it said, as Sigfox and LoRa cede market dominance for the first time. Growth will be spurred by smart meters and asset trackers, it said.