Verizon’s vow to launch LTE Cat M1 for IoT before the end of this year is a big step closer to reality after the completion October 26 of the what is believed to be the world’s first live, over-the-air LTE Cat M1 data call, conducted on Verizon’s pre-commercial LTE Cat M1 network in south Florida. The call showed a prototype device, using Sequans’ Monarch LTE Cat M1 chip, communicating live over the air to an LTE base station.
“This is a big accomplishment,” said Craig Miller, VP of marketing at Sequans. “We are working side by side with Verizon to support their aggressive, end of year, commercial LTE Cat M1 network launch goal and we are excited that we’ve reached this major milestone.”
When speaking of the importance of LTE Cat M1 to the IoT market, Verizon said in a statement, “Up until now, the cost to connect devices to a wide-area network has been a barrier to widespread IoT. By evolving our device ecosystem to include Cat M1, we’re aligning Verizon’s 4G LTE network to the needs of future IoT deployments. We are also taking direct aim at emerging low power wireless access (LPWA) solutions that do not offer the same level of scale, coverage and security as LTE.”
When Verizon announced its Cat M1 network plans in September, they touted Cat M1 as “a game-changer for the industry,” stating that supporting chips from chipmakers will lower the costs of developing and deploying IoT devices on a large scale.
Sequans’ Monarch chip is the world’s first LTE Cat M1/NB1 chip. It is purpose built for narrowband IoT applications, including sensors, wearables, and other low data, low power M2M and IoT devices. Monarch complies with the ultra-low-power and reduced complexity feature requirements of the 3GPP release 13 LTE Advanced Pro standard, defining narrowband, low data rate LTE technology for machine type communications. Monarch comprises baseband, RF, power management, and RAM, all integrated into a single, tiny 6.5 x 8.5 mm package. In addition, Monarch supports advanced features such as programmable RF filtering for global band support in a single SKU, and proprietary dynamic power management technology for operating life of 10+ years.