T-Mobile US is looking to steal a jump on competitors in attracting enterprises to its narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network, announcing a new business tariff it said significantly undercuts Verizon’s rival Cat-M1 plan.
Dubbed Magenta, T-Mobile said the tariff is the nation’s first NB-IoT plan and it will offer businesses rates of $6 a year per device for up to 12MB of data “for a limited time”, to connect to the network. The plan includes ten single packet transactions per hour at up to 64kb/s.
Singling out leading operator Verizon, as it often does in pushing its own agenda, T-Mobile said its Magenta plan is priced “at one tenth the cost of Verizon Cat-M plans”, while adding NB-IoT in general was “much more affordable” than Cat-M1. A pricing guideline on Verizon’s website shows it costs potential customers $2 per device for 200kB of data, or $3 per month per device for 500kB of data.
T-Mobile clarified to Mobile World Live the tariff is solely for businesses, not consumers.
IoT meets uncarrier model
The operator deployed its NB-IoT network in October 2017 and plans to launch the technology nationwide by mid-year.
While rivals Verizon and AT&T opted to deploy low power wide area (LPWA) networks using Cat-M1 technology (which is also referred to as LTE-M), T-Mobile decided to deploy NB-IoT as part of its push around IoT. Cat-M1 and NB-IoT are two of three standardised LPWA networks, with the latter proving more popular in Europe (the third licensed technology is EC-GSM).
In addition to talking up the lower cost of its service, T-Mobile used its announcement to further push the efficiency benefits of NB-IoT over Cat-M1: “Because it can operate in guard bands – the network equivalent of driving down the shoulders on the highway – NB-IoT carries data with greater efficiency and performance and doesn’t compete with data traffic for network resources,” added the company.
T-Mobile also said it had now certified new NB-IoT modules from u-blox and Sierra Wireless for use on the network.