AT&T on Wednesday unveiled a new set of tiered data plans for Internet of Things (IoT) developers and plans for an LTE-M pilot program as part of its efforts to solidify its place as a major player in the IoT space.
The new prepaid IoT plans come in three data buckets offering 1 GB of data that can be used over 12 months and 500 SMS messages for $25, 3 GB of data over a year and 1,000 SMS messages for $60 or 5 GB of data and 1,500 SMS messages over 24 months for $100. The plans will become available later this month.
AT&T said the introduction of IoT plans will help give developers a starting point for deployments. The data can currently be used for up to 1,000 devices, AT&T said. As connectivity grows, the carrier said it will work with IoT customers to offer different options.
“Making data plans available for developers and innovators lowers the barrier to entry,” AT&T’s Senior Vice President of IoT Solutions Chris Penrose said. “It lets smaller players, used to working at the speed of innovation, get their products off the ground and in the hands of customers quickly. After these initial plans are deployed, we help them scale their solution beyond a thousand SIMs and provide connectivity as they grow their business.”
The move comes just a few months after AT&T introduced its IoT Starter Kit, a “one-stop shop” that includes connectivity, LTE hardware, application services and cloud storage tools – like an AT&T Global SIM, an LTE modem for AT&T’s network, access to AT&T’s Control Center, an IoT connectivity management platform, REST APIs and more. The $99 kit became available in August.
AT&T on Wednesday also shed light on its plan to launch an LTE-M pilot next month in San Francisco with partners Badger Meter, CalAmp, Capstone Metering, PepsiCo and Samsung. AT&T said the pilot will include solutions from a variety of technology providers, including Altair, Ericsson, Qualcomm, u-blox and Sierra Wireless, among others.
The carrier said it is aiming for a commercial launch of LTE-M on its network in 2017.
According to AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie, AT&T already has upwards of 29 million connected devices – including 9.4 million connected cars – on its network. Lurie said the carrier’s goal is to connect many more, and in the process enable “very simple, but very important solutions” to come to market.
And AT&T’s efforts to secure a place at the forefront of IoT don’t come a minute too soon.
Ericsson’s 2016 Mobility Report forecast the IoT will surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected device by 2018. By 2021, nearly 16 billion of the 28 billion total connected devices will be IoT devices, Ericsson said.