Bell Canada’s new LTE-M network to launch next year
Days after announcing support for a smart farming initiative, Bell Canada said that it will be launching an Category M1 LTE network in 2018 to support the use of the internet of things.
Bell said that it has already completed successful trials of the low-power, wide-area LTE-M technology and has deployments with pilot customers.
Category M1 LTE is one of several options for lightweight LTE deployments for serving IoT devices with power efficiency and less cost; Cat M1 is the lowest power, least expensive implementation of LTE. This type of coverage is expanding in North America via a number of carriers. Verizon turned on its domestic LTE-M network at the end of March. AT&T was active in turning on its first LTE-M sitelate last year and announced full network deployment in mid-May.
Earlier this week, Bell announced a CAD$500,000 contribution (about US$374,000) to the University of Manitoba’s Front and Centre campaign to launch the Bell MTS Innovations in Agriculture Program, which is geared toward IoT smart farming initiatives. The telco said that IoT applications can help improve the production of food resources through managing the location and performance of farm machinery, remote analysis of soil samples, field conditions, seeding rate and crop health, and monitoring of storage and processing operations.
Bell demonstrated its first Cat M1 LTE use case earlier this year with industrial IoT company BeWhere, with an emphasis on real-time asset tracking and monitoring for emergency responders. The two companies said they are also testing environmental sensors and asset monitoring devices for an Ontario winery.
“LTE-M makes it possible to have many thousands of smart sensors collecting and sending data over a wider range and with better battery life than other connectivity options,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s CTO, in a statement. “We invite developers and partners to join us as we open the doors to new and exciting innovations in IoT.”