Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Verizon extends NB-IoT network across USA

Steve Rogerson
May 16, 2019

Verizon has extended its NB-IoT network to be available coast-to-coast covering more than 92% of the US population.
The launch of this additional IoT connectivity option in combination with the company’s ThingSpace management platform, APIs, tools and ecosystem of partners should help enterprises bring NB-IoT services to market quickly.
“There is a whole universe of smart solutions needing scalable and affordable connections,” said Jeffrey Dietel, Verizon senior vice president. “By launching our NB-IoT network, Verizon is taking yet another step in making that connectivity available and driving innovation in the IoT field.”
NB-IoT technology is specifically designed for IoT applications that could benefit from access to lower cost chipsets, better coverage and prolonged battery life. An NB-IoT network provides the ability to manage IP and non-IP data traffic. This ability to handle non-IP data traffic allows for the creation of much simpler and more cost-effective IoT devices which are suitable for products that aren’t designed to be always mobile such as alarm panels, environmental sensors, industrial appliances, factory equipment and parking meters.
Other use cases for NB-IoT include:

  • Smart cities – improve citizen experience and municipal operations through parking sensors, waste management and smart lighting.
  • Smart buildings – enhance building safety and incident response times through connected smoke detectors including regular auto-test, battery check and real-time alerts to the relevant parties in case of fire.
  • Industrial – improved machinery maintenance cycles and factory safety through machinery control such as equipment status, factory control, and process and safety monitoring.
  • Environment monitoring – increase focus on environmental responsibility through status reporting of manhole covers, fire hydrants and chemical emission levels.
  • Agricultural – improve efficiency in the agricultural industry with livestock tracker, connected greenhouse, stationary tracking and monitoring of air quality, humidity, moisture, temperature and weather conditions of air and soil.
  • Asset tracking – improve efficiency and decrease costs by using pallet tracking and geo-fencing.
  • Utilities – improve efficiency and decrease waste by using gas and water metering, including smart meter consumption tracking and pipeline monitoring.
Verizon is expanding its ecosystem of partners to help develop, bring to market, connect and manage IoT products and services. The company has partnered with chipset and module manufacturers so IoT makers can immediately start working towards building their devices for the NB-IoT network.
Three module manufacturers in final stages of testing – Telit, Sim-Com and Quectel – have modules on Verizon’s network that are ready to be used in development efforts. Additionally, customers will be able to manage their connections securely using the integrated ThingSpace platform that supports connectivity management, location and device security.
Verizon has announced an initial NB-IoT standard price plan, offering 50kbyte of data with a $1 monthly access fee per device. The data allowance can be shared with other NB-IoT devices on the same price plan and on the same account.
Verizon has a history of providing options including nationwide deployment of 4G LTE, LTE Cat 1 and LTE Cat M1 networks. While Cat-M1 targets a wide range of applications for business customers such as wearables, fleet and asset management, NB-IoT focuses on applications needing data rates below 100kbit/s. NB-IoT technology occupies a dedicated frequency of 180kHz bandwidth designated for IoT applications that do not share spectrum resources with commercial smartphone traffic.
“We have engineered our NB-IoT network in the guard band of our spectrum,” said Bill Stone, vice president at Verizon. “By using the more complex guard band solution for our NB-IoT network, we are demonstrating very efficient use of spectrum assets while giving customers the breadth of options they need to best meet their 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.”