T-Mobile US announced it completed NB-IoT tests on a live commercial network in Las Vegas, as well as striking a new partnership to deploy IoT technology throughout the city.
In a statement, the company said it was “first out of the gate” with the technology in the US, and the trial comes just months after the operator committed to supporting NB-IoT, with plans to launch next year.
While T-Mobile US, owned by German operator Deutsche Telekom, claimed a first with NB-IoT in the country, rivals AT&T and Verizon have already commercially deployed LTE-M in the US, as part of their own IoT push.
NB-IoT and LTE-M are two of three standardised low power wide area (LPWA) network technologies, with the latter proving more popular in North America, while some of the major European carriers have deployed the former.
At the LPWA World event in May, Deutsche Telekom’s senior product manager M2M Jens Olejak said T-Mobile US’ decision to deploy NB-IoT and not LTE-M was a testament to its disruptive strategy.
The field trials were conducted in partnership with vendors Qualcomm and Ericsson across multiple sites on T-Mobile US’ live commercial network in Las Vegas. The operator said it was now preparing for the “massive projected growth in the world of IoT”, and added NB-IoT also supports a direct pathway to 5G.
“By investing in NB-IoT now, we’re ensuring our customers will be able to bring their products to market faster with better performance, vastly improved battery life and big cost savings,” said Neville Ray, CTO at T-Mobile US.
The company also announced a partnership with the city of Las Vegas to deploy IoT technology throughout the city, including NB-IoT. The company and the city said they will pilot several IoT projects, including flood abatement, smart city lighting and environmental monitoring.