- T-Mobile successfully conducted North America’s first live network tests of Narrowband LTE technology for IoT devices, according to an announcement last week.
- Narrowband LTE (NB-IoT) is a next generation LTE built with industry standards that uses dedicated spectrum to carry IoT data more efficiently. Narrowband-IoT is developed specifically for a high volume of data using low power over a large geographical space.
- The testing, which was done with Qualcomm and Ericsson, was in Las Vegas, where T-Mobile has a commercial LTE network and is piloting several IoT projects that will be able to use NB-IoT.
Making sure there is a network for all the IoT devices that are expected to come online — 20.4 billion by 2020 — is essential. Therefore T-Mobile isn’t the only company rolling out Narrowband. Vodafone announced a launch of NB-IoT earlier this year in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. Meanwhile, Huawei is testing it in Brazil.
Like the dedicated short-range communication vs. 5G matchup that came before, NB-IoT has a competitor. LTE-M supports mobility, so devices like connected cars or smartphone apps can use it. Both Verizon and AT&T are putting their money behind LTE-M testing. If one standard — NB-IoT or LTE-M — gets the leg up early in deployments, it could spell the end of support for the other.