Verizon became the third US operator to launch an NB-IoT network, albeit some five months later than expected.

Though the operator unveiled plans in February 2018 to launch the low-power wide-area (LPWA) network by the year-end, an announcement never materialised. T-Mobile US beat it to the punch in July 2018, while AT&T followed with its own launch last month.

Verizon said the network it launched this week covers 92 per cent of the US population.

All three operators opted to use guard band spectrum, meaning the NB-IoT networks don’t share spectrum with smartphone traffic.

Guard bands are fallow gaps of spectrum left between radio frequencies to prevent interference.

In a statement, Verizon VP of technology development and planning Bill Stone said the decision to use guard band airwaves was a “strategic” move to make the most efficient use of its spectrum assets.

Verizon has had LTE-M service (another LPWA cellular technology) up and running since March 2017 and added voice service to that network in August 2018. But it said its new NB-IoT infrastructure is designed for a different class of IoT devices, for example stationary sensors, which have lower bandwidth needs.

Developers will have access to equipment from Telit, SIM-COM and Quectel Wireless Solutions, which are currently in the final stages of testing modules for the network.

An initial NB-IoT tariff will offer 50KB of data for $1 per month/device. The data allowance will be sharable with other devices on an account which use the same price plan.