Verizon will deploy a nationwide narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network across its entire 2.56 million-mile footprint this year. The carrier recently completed a NB-IoT data session using Ericsson’s Internet of Things (IoT) software.
NB-IoT is a 3GPP standards-based low-power wide area (LPWA) technology that uses licensed spectrum and can coexist alongside 3G and 4G cellular networks. The Verizon NB-IoT technology will “occupy a dedicated frequency of 180 kHz bandwidth designated for IoT applications, which does not share spectrum resources with commercial smartphone traffic.”
NB-IoT is different from LTE CAT-M (also known as LTE-M) IoT technology because NB-IoT is a separate network. Verizon also has a nationwide CAT-M network for IoT that it launched last year. AT&T also has a nationwide CAT-M network. T-Mobile has said it will have a nationwide NB-IoT network live by mid-year, and that it will also deploy a nationwide CAT-M network after its NB-IoT network is complete.
Verizon’s CAT-M network is targeted at a range of applications including wearables, fleet and asset management. It’s NB-IoT network will handle applications that need data rates below 100 kb/s.
Bill Stone, VP of network planning at Verizon, said that the company is deploying the technology to provide customers with more options. “We are committed to providing more customer options to the IoT ecosystem by leading with new technologies and capabilities such as NB-IoT guard band that efficiently use dedicated spectrum and target different customer requirements for throughput and battery life,” Stone said in a statement.
Narrowband IoT is gaining traction in the U.S. and Europe. Deutsche Telekom said last month that it has a NB-IoT network live in eight European markets and plans to expand that coverage by year-end.