Verizon announced its Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network is now live across the country, enabling connectivity for a variety of IoT applications like environmental monitoring and asset tracking.
Verizon’s initial entry-level NB-IoT plan offers 50KB of data for $1 per month, with data sharable across other NB-IoT devices on the same plan.
Bill Stone, VP of technology development and planning at Verizon, said in an announcement that the NB-IoT network is engineered in the guard band of Verizon’s spectrum, providing “very efficient use of spectrum assets” while delivering a range of options to best fit customer needs.
“This strategic use of spectrum is one of the many variables that has resulted in Verizon’s continued performance superiority and strong capital management over the years,” said Stone.
The low-power wide-area network covers more than 92 percent of the U.S. population, and is designed for IoT applications that require data rates below 100 kbps.
Verizon already has an LTE Cat-M1 network running nationwide, but the carrier says its complementary NB-IoT network is primed to handle simple and less-costly IoT devices that aren’t designed to always be mobile. Verizon specifically called out alarm panels, environmental sensors, factory equipment and parking meters, as examples of devices that would benefit from NB-IoT’s ability to handle non-IP data traffic.
Verizon also named Telit, SIM-COM, and Quectel as three module manufacturer partners that are “in final stages of testing,” with modules on the NB-IoT network that are ready to be used by IoT makers working to build devices.
NB-IoT technology is ideal for applications that need lower cost chipsets, better coverage and prolonged battery life, while LTE-M providers greater bandwidth suitable to support applications like wearables, and fleet and asset management.
The nation’s largest wireless carrier pointed to the following seven use-cases it calls “ideal” for NB-IoT technology: Smart cities (parking sensors, waste management, smart lighting); smart buildings (connected smoke detectors); Industrial (machinery equipment status, factory control, and process and safety monitoring); Environmental monitoring (status reports of fire hydrants, chemical emission levels and man hole covers); Agricultural (livestock trackers, connected greenhouse, stationary tracking, environmental monitoring); Asset tracking (pallet tracking and geo-fencing); and Utilities (gas and water metering).
“There is a whole universe of smart solutions needing scalable and affordable connections. By launching our NB-IoT Network, Verizon is taking yet another step in making that connectivity available and driving innovation in the IoT field,” said Jeffrey Dietel, SVP of business marketing and products at Verizon.
Verizon’s nationwide launch follows that of AT&T, which turned on its own NB-IoT network across the country in late April, with plans to start deploying NB-IoT in Mexico later this year.
T-Mobile was the first carrier to launch an NB-IoT network in the U.S., which went live in July 2018.