T-Mobile has moved to strengthen its standing in the fast-growing machine-to-machine (M2M) communications market via a new alliance with Sierra Wireless, the US M2M specialist. In a joint statement today, the two companies announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed for the joint development of predefined solutions for the M2M market. Areas of cooperation will include product development, marketing, sales and deployment of M2M solutions and related services. The companies plan to develop a joint M2M solution offering focused on the automotive, fleet, navigation, utility and security markets, and will look at the possibility of shipping Sierra Wireless products preloaded with T-Mobile subscriptions. The alliance targets the European market, with an initial focus on Germany.

“Our joint efforts are intended to bring optimised, out-of-the-box solutions to our M2M customers, and we trust that the results of our co-operation will be appreciated by the M2M market,” said Rainer Deutschmann, senior vice-president of mobile products at T-Mobile parent, Deutsche Telekom. T-Mobile’s move follows similar steps by major operators into the M2M space. In July, Verizon Wireless announced a joint-venture with Qualcomm to develop M2M products, while AT&T has a deal in place with M2M firm, Jasper Wireless. In April, Deutsche Telekom’s US arm, T-Mobile USA, announced an M2M deal with smart power grid company Echelon, which will use T-Mobile USA’s mobile network to link so-called ‘smart meters’ to utilities. Meanwhile it was also announced today that another US mobile operator, Sprint Nextel, has formed an alliance with M2M DataSmart to help companies wanting to use Sprint’s mobile broadband network for M2M deployments.