T-Mobile makes Internet of Things moves through partnerships with Sequans, Novatel Wireless


T-Mobile today made two notable Internet of Things (IoT) announcements.

First up, T-Mobile is teaming up with Sequans Communications S.A. to use their LTE Cat 1 tech for T-Mo’s machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT customers. This is a significant upgrade, as T-Mobile is migrating from 2G technology for its M2M and IoT needs.

Sequans’ LTE Cat 1 chipset platform is named Calliope, and it’s capable of throughput up to 10Mbps. It also supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and location-based services. Sequans also touts that Calliope offers “ultra-low power consumption.”

Here’s what Georges Karam, Sequans CEO, had to say about today’s news:

“We are very happy to support T-Mobile’s IoT network strategy as an LTE Cat 1 technology provider. LTE Cat 1 enables 4G solutions to rival 2G/3G in cost while providing much greater longevity. This means T-Mobile’s customers have access to a leading wireless network that is scalable and secure with broad coverage, along with affordable, long-lived connectivity solutions for successful IoT and M2M business models.”

Meanwhile, Novatel Wireless today announced Ignite, a retail connectivity bundle that’s priced at $40 per month. That monthly rate will get customers the hardware that they need — including a modem and two LTE whip antennas — cloud management, support, and 3GB of wireless data from T-Mobile.

The goal of Ignite is to simplify the process of getting connected devices like digital signage and points of sale online. Doug Chartier, SVP of IoT, Wholesale, and National Retail for T-Mobile, said this of T-Mo’s partnership with Novatel:

“Our Un-carrier movement is all about solving customer pain points and in today’s world of connected devices, that also means helping fix what’s broken with the carrier’s IoT solutions. Ignite combines Novatel Wireless’ IoT integration and management expertise with T-Mobile’s blazing-fast LTE wireless coverage that reaches almost every American – eliminating the wild card for businesses assessing the costs of implementing an IoT solution. Pain point, solved.”

T-Mobile appears to be placing more of a focus on the Internet of Things lately, with these two announcements today and one from Twilio earlier this year. The IoT market is growing, and it will give T-Mobile another way to grow, too. T-Mobile’s even got one section of its website dedicated to IoT, and you can check it out for yourself here.

Sources: Sequans, GlobeNewswire

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  • Tim

    Will this move have t-mobile shutdown their 2G edge network? Lets hope so

    • Sayahh

      NO!! I was counting on M2M using 2G so I can keep using my 2006 Nokia phone! (I’m being sort of serious.)

      • a d00d

        I’m screwed on that already with my Nokia N900: 3G/HSPA+ only on Tmo and Wind’s B4/AWS. With that band being 100% LTE now it only runs GSM/EDGE now. :(

        • Clifton K. Morris

          You have more choices today. Try an AT&T or Cricket SIM card.

        • Sayahh

          Could you please elaborate? I do not know enough about AT&T and Cricket’s bands to know how this can/will help. Thank you!

  • Flan Mandhersson

    I hear, that this will limit the new 4g network and make a more congested speed in a lot of places. Is this why sprint wants to buy tmobil?

    • Trevnerdio

      It’s doubtful. I know LTE generally operates on bandwidth in chunks of 5MHz, but I believe you can even start getting down into 2.5MHz chunks in the lower frequencies (like 700MHz spectrum) and that wouldn’t take up that much space, and it’d still be enough to provide data speeds up to 10mbps.

      • Alex Zapata

        1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20MHz are standard channel widths. They could be using 1.4 or 3MHz, more than likely.

        • Trevnerdio

          Well then I stand corrected! Good to know, thanks.

  • emcdonald75

    Yes! One of the final nails to get rid of 2G and move to an all LTE network. AT&T first, then T-Mobile, maybe Verizon because of their wish to hold onto their 2G network until 2021, and last Sprint. Sprint might move sooner than Verizon to an all LTE network if Sprint can get VoLTE services up and running. I highly doubt Sprint will move faster to all LTE services because of their heavy reliance on roaming with other CDMA smaller carriers for voice and data. Hopefully all CDMA carriers begin implementing VoLTE.

    • Tim

      Hspa isnt going away anytime soon

      • Fabian

        Verizon is not in rush to be all LTE, with what they have and LTE Advance have enough to shame the competition. And their plan to offer service without the need of CDMA phones is fantastic, making it an unlocked phones friendly carrier, I can’t wait.

      • emcdonald75

        I don’t care if HSPA stays longer, I just want 2G to go away. HSPA requires larger channels than 2G min. 5×5, I believe), so that could be a reason to keep 2G online and overlay it with LTE wherever enough spectrum allows. But if M2M businesses will equip their products with LTE modems that could help push carriers to all LTE networks much sooner.

      • a d00d

        Exactly, HSPA only arrived in 2006. I’m willing to bet in most countries it’ll be around until 2026 for a couple of reasons: IoT (HSPA modems cost a lot less than LTE ones–notice these announcements are lacking in pricing?) and supporting legacy for poor people who can’t or don’t want to get a new device, especially in poorer countries.

        Meanwhile, GSM/EDGE and CDMA/EvDO are useless for anything BUT low-speed IoT and standard voice, yet consume a lot of bandwidth when you add in things like guard bands and channel separation. A HUGE point of LTE (and HSPA?) is getting rid of those guard bands and running everything co-channel by using MIMO and such, and therefore having one channel taking up the entire licensed (sub)band.

        As for Sprint, you forget they have no money, honey, but they sure have that disease: a network that’s falling behind the competition and mostly incompatible with it (TD vs FD-LTE). I’m willing to bet guys with CDMA radios that work on PCS are moving to Sprint if available for IoT because it’s cheaper and they know that Sprint (and rural carriers like Commnet and US Cellular) will be the last to drop it.

    • Clifton K. Morris

      T-Mobile is able to do this because it knows that their customers will accept the suggestion from customer service to upgrade their hardware or phone.

      Also, T-Mobile doesn’t have many government accounts. Emergency responders and ambulances rely on a strong signal (without deadzones) so heart rate monitors can connect to the cellular tower and transfer vital signs to a doctors’ computer at the hospital.

      To compare, T-Mobile would prefer the ambulance companies, police forces, and fire departments (much like its phone customers) upgrade equipment on an annual basis so people in that area can watch cartoons and netflix.

      • emcdonald75

        Well if that’s true, Verizon customers must also like Netflix and cartoons because Verizon has announced its support for the LTE Cat-M1/M2 technologies so they can work with vendors to upgrade from 2G/3G to LTE M2M modules.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    So when we getting it

  • Jason Caprio

    This is definitely a good move. It’s nearly 2017 and 2G networks should have already been non-existant. Whenever I’m lucky to be in the middle of nowhere on 2G, I might as well be in airplane mode. 2G is utterly useless for anything besides talk/text.

    I’m hoping it all gets refarmed to LTE including HSPA. HSPA needs to die as well. I know that it is mostly on Band 2 but if they kill HSPA, Band 2 can be deployed along with Band 4 and 12 to make 3-way Carrier Aggregation LTE Advanced.

    I believe Verizon just started doing that recently. Come on T-Mobile!!

    • Clifton K. Morris

      I agree. Next time I am driving in the evening and a billboard blinds my eyes, I can know that T-Mobile’s Doug Chartier was responsible for delivering the ad.

      Seriously though. T-Mobile put someone on staff to manage all the billboards and “digital signs” in America? That’s an addressable market of what has to be a whopping 3,000 billboards across the USA; most of which are on the Las Vegas strip.

      They must be very expensive rateplans to justify a Director-level salary.