U.S.-based operator AT&T has announced the completion of its LTE-M network in Mexico, following the launch of commercial pilot services in Tijuana and Puebla in Q3 2017. This network complements AT&T’s LTE-M network already in place in the United States. In August, the company completed the first LTE-M data session in international roaming between the United States. and Mexico.
The new network will support IoT services in smart cities, logistics and asset management, security systems and supply chain management, among other applications. Compared to the traditional cellular network, LTE-M offers better indoor and underground coverage, longer battery life and smaller operating modules, according to the operator.
Development of LTE-M, a high-speed machine 4G network designed specifically for IoT, is a good way for AT&T to establish itself in this rapidly emerging field in a market, Mexico, where the operator itself is quickly becoming a competitive force.
With IoT applications gaining ground in the consumer (smart home systems, for example), enterprise (asset management and systems control) and municipal (smart cities) sectors, there is plenty of opportunity for a major player such as AT&T to make a great deal of revenue by supplying and owning the network infrastructure for them. And the fact that the operator has a pre-existing LTE-M network in place in the United States means that the operator can profit not only from IoT business in Mexico but also from businesses that maintain operations on both sides of the border. This is a natural expression of the power AT&T has gained from expanding into Mexico.
As far as the smart cities initiatives go, in mid-December AT&T signed a contract to create IoT infrastructure for the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo so that cities there can be made into smart cities. Localities such as Tulum, Cozumel and Cancun, which attract a great deal of tourist trade, are expected to benefit.