Qualcomm is putting its wireless edge software platform to use by working with Gizwits and Quectel to make an IoT module that can work on 2G networks today but is software upgradeable to narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M.
Qualcomm made the announcement with Gizwits and Quectel at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. Gizwits will provide the IoT cloud APIs, Quectel will make the module hardware, and Qualcomm will provide the LTE IoT modem coupled with the wireless edge software platform.
Quectel said that its BG36 module will be available in the third quarter and will have global multimode capabilities that include LTE-M, NB-IoT, and 2G. It also will have multi-year battery life.
Enterprises can deploy the IoT modems and use 2G networks for connectivity without worrying about the lifespan of the network. Many cellular operators around the globe have said they plan to phase out their 2G networks and reuse (or refarm) that 2G spectrum to deploy their 5G networks. In the U.S. AT&T decommissioned much of its 2G network last year. Verizon has said it will shutter its CDMA network by end of 2019.
Qualcomm, Quectel, and Gizwits said that they will make the modem upgrade capabilities possible in the first half of 2019. Qualcomm plans to launch its wireless edge platform by year end.
Qualcomm first talked about the wireless edge platform in February during a media event in San Diego. At the time, the company said that it was developing the software platform to help increase the growth in IoT by providing an edge solution that can be incorporated into the chipset hardware.