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Verizon launches nationwide IoT network

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Verizon Wireless has activated its Category M1 LTE network, making it the first U.S. carrier to launch a nationwide LTE network dedicated to the internet of things. The carrier said it will offer IoT data plans for as little as $2 per month per device, with customized options available for bulk activations and volume purchases.

Category M1 LTE is very different from the higher categories of LTE that smartphones use. Uplink and downlink speeds are both capped at one megabit per second, and bandwidth is capped at 1.4 megahertz per device. This enables low-cost connectivity chipsets for devices that do not need constant communication with the network. Category M1 modems are roughly 25% as complex as Category 1 modems, which are currently used to connect IoT devices to LTE networks.

Mike Lanman, Verizon senior VP of business products and IoT, said Cat M1 devices will connect seamlessly to the LTE network if they use Verizon’s ThingSpace client software. Qualcomm will be the first chipmaker to bring to market a chip that embeds the ThingSpace client along with Cat M1 connectivity. The goal is to let developers create consumer devices that will connect as easily as a smartphone.

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