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Verizon launches Cat M1 network across USA

Steve Rogerson
April 6, 2017
 
Verizon has launched a nationwide commercial 4G LTE Category M1 network in the USA; it spans 6.2 million square kilometres.
 
This is claimed to be the first and only Cat M1 network providing scale, coverage and security for customers seeking wireless access for the IoT. Verizon's Cat M1 network is built on a virtualised cloud environment that enables rapid and agile IoT deployment and nationwide scaling aimed at increasing IoT adoption for developers and businesses with new and more economical IoT data plans.
 
Verizon maintains a strong leadership position in IoT technology with a history of firsts, including the first deployment of 4G LTE, LTE Cat 1 and now LTE Cat M1. Cat M1 is a class of LTE chipset that is designed for sensors. They require less power, offer extended battery life and support an array of use cases ranging from water meters to asset trackers to consumer electronics.
 
"We are very proud to again demonstrate our innovative leadership by providing this commercially available network for our customers, an industry first," said Mike Haberman, network vice president at Verizon. "As the natural shift from CDMA-based IoT to the more robust and cloud-based LTE technology occurs, it's important we stay ahead of that technology evolution for our customers so we can continue to provide them service on the best and most advanced wireless network. Our commercial deployment of the nationwide LTE Cat M1 network does just that."
 
The low bandwidth use cases for Cat M1 chipsets demand new types of data plans, including low rate, multi-year plans to match the longer useful life of devices. Cat M1 devices can economically scale on Verizon's wireless network on data plans that are as low as $2 per month per device, with customised options available for bulk activations and volume purchases.
 
By providing competitive rate plans, less expensive chipsets and a global platform on which to develop, manage and deploy IoT services, Verizon says it gives innovators, developers and businesses a simple approach to scale from millions of connected devices to billions on 4G LTE at a cost structure that's competitive with other technologies.
 
In collaboration with industry partners, Verizon has enabled an open ecosystem for Cat M1 that includes infrastructure providers and manufacturers of chipsets, modules and devices. Verizon's Cat M1 partners include Sequans, Telit, U-Blox, Sierra Wireless, Gemalto, Qualcomm Technologies and Altair, who together with Verizon are developing for the next generation of IoT use cases. Today, Verizon offers certified chipsets, modules and devices for Cat M1 from Sequans, Telit, Qualcomm Technologies, Encore Networks, Link Labs and NimbeLink.
 
Mike Lanman, senior vice president at Verizon, calls the LTE Cat M1 network "a game changer for the industry, enabling a broad range of sensors and new categories of devices with better power efficiency and longer battery life than current IoT solutions. By launching this network with a fresh set of connectivity rate options, we're not only continuing to lead the way for IoT, but we're also enabling true scalability from millions to billions of IoT devices in a simple, secure manner and at a reduced cost to connect, all on America's most reliable LTE network."
 
ThingSpace is Verizon's global, web-based IoT platform that enables developers and customers to create IoT services and manage their IoT environments end-to-end from the device to the application level. With roughly 14,000 developers using the platform today, APIs added regularly and global agreements to support connectivity in more than 175 countries, ThingSpace provides a simplified approach for building, deploying and managing IoT applications, which can be customised for a wide-range of IoT use cases such as asset management, industrial automation, wearables, smart city technologies and consumer electronics.
 
Verizon's Cat M1 data plans include a framework for developers with global customisation options for APIs and connectivity, designed to reduce costs and speed to market on the ThingSpace platform.
 
When Cat M1 LTE chipsets that are pre-loaded with Verizon ThingSpace client  – such as the one offered by Qualcomm Technologies – are deployed, customers, developers and end-users should receive a better, more turnkey experience. For example, in the consumer context, using the ThingSpace client on a connected washing machine would allow the machine to connect securely and seamlessly to the 4GLTE network and communicate with the consumer or manufacturer regarding chore status and diagnostic information.
 
Verizon Communications, headquartered in New York, has a workforce of 160,900 and generated nearly $126bn revenues in 2016.