AT&T, KPN, Orange and Swisscom strike deal on LTE-M roaming
AT&T, KPN, Orange and Swisscom have switched on LTE-M roaming across their respective IoT networks in North America and Europe.
The deal means LTE-M modules activated with any of the carriers will be able to roam on AT&T’s networks in the US and Mexico, KPN’s in the Netherlands, Orange’s in France and Romania, and Swisscom’s in Switzerland.
Orange will add LTE-M connectivity in Belgium, Slovakia, Spain and Poland this year. The group said they expect to add additional operators to the roaming arrangement to expand their cross-border capabilities in the coming months.
LTE-M networks will fully cover Europe by end 2020, reckons the GSMA.
LTE-M piggybacks on existing LTE infrastructure, and offers a low-power wide-area (LPWA) alternative, operating in licensed spectrum, to technologies like LoRaWAN and Sigfox. The LPWA community claims the same characteristics of lower costs, more compact modules, longer battery life, and the ability to penetrate hard-to-reach locations.
LTE-M is different to NB-IoT, the other LPWA technology offered by network operators, insofar as it is more suited to moving objects, and use cases like asset tracking, where NB-IoT is a static technology, typically, designed to be deployed and left for many years.
John Wojewoda, associate vice president for global connections management at AT&T, said: “More and more of our enterprise customers require global capabilities as they deploy IoT devices and applications. These LTE-M roaming agreements help meet that demand and make it easier for businesses around the world to benefit from the power of a globalized IoT.”
Carolien Nijhuis, director IoT at KPN, said: “The introduction of LTE-M creates many new possibilities for our partners, customers and prospects. Roaming with LTE-M has been one of the most requested features by our customers in the market. We are very happy we’re now able to fulfill their needs and unlock their international IoT-potential.”
Didier Lelièvre, director mobile wholesale and interconnection at Orange, said: “Enabling access to roaming on LTE-M for our customers is a clear priority for Orange. We’re proud to be among the first operators to deliver such a roaming capability to our IoT customers and more widely to our partners across this market.”
Julian Dömer, head of IoT at Swisscom, said: “After offering the first nationwide LTE-M and NB-IoT networks in Switzerland, we are happy to prove our strong position on roaming and be among the first operators that enhance the key technology LTE-M for 2G replacement with international roaming.”