Sequans was the first chipmaker to develop an LTE Cat M1/NB1 chip and recently brought its Monarch LTE Cat M1/NB1 solution to market. Based on release 13 of the 3GPP LTE standard that further refines LTE for use in IoT and M2M applications. While this new technology is beginning to deploy, and is ideal for ultra low power, low throughput applications where devices are idle or asleep most of the time, LTE Cat 1 technology, based on pre-existing LTE technology, is finding a home in IoT applications that require somewhat higher throughput and performance, but still need a solution optimized for IoT.
LTE Cat 1 technology is an excellent option for many types of IoT/M2M applications and it will continue to be used even after Cat M1 and NB1 networks are fully deployed. LTE Cat 1 technology has been deployed by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile in the USA, and Telstra in Australia and NTT DoCoMo in Japan have publicly announced the launch of Cat 1 network and device trials, using Sequans? LTE Cat 1 chipset, Calliope. Calliope has now been certified by Verizon, AT&T, and NTT Docomo, and other operators will follow.
LTE Cat 1 technology, with throughput speed capped at 10 Mbps, is significantly less complex and less power hungry than Cat 3 or 4 technologies with 100 Mbps and 150 Mbps of throughput, respectively, but it is perfect for those IoT applications that still need moderate amounts of throughput. Think of ATMs with video surveillance, or retail kiosks with financial transaction components and/or voice command options. Vehicle telematics and industrial IoT applications are especially well-supported by LTE Cat 1. Both Geotab and Autonet are using it for connected car applications. Geotab has announced new vehicle telematics devices, and Autonet has announced an auto dealer customer service application. Encore Networks, Wivity, and D-Link are using it for industrial IoT modems.
When Cat M1 and NB1 technologies are fully deployed, LTE for IoT will spread to the numerous types of very low throughput, very low power consumption applications such as industrial sensors, asset trackers, or wearables that wake up periodically to deliver only very small amounts of data and then go back to sleep. Cat M1 is about 1 Mbps maximum, and Cat M2, about 40 kbps, designed for ultra low power/low data applications.