Bell to Launch LTE-M Network for Internet of Things

Bell announced this morning it will launch an LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network to support the growing use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices on low-power, wide-area networks (LPWANs) in Canada.

The company says it has already completed successful LTE-M trials with pilot customers, with the network slated for a launch in 2018. LTE-M will make IoT devices operate more efficiently by allowing low power consumption and also offer improved coverage in underground and hard to reach places.

The first LTE-M application shown this year was with partners BeWhere, which sells hardware and sensors to track real-time movements of equipment, such as those for EMS services, allowing paramedics to keep tabs on emergency equipment.

BeWhere and Bell note they are also experimenting with environmental sensors and asset monitoring devices for a winery in Ontario. The possibilities for LTE-M and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) is endless, and looks to be another area for Bell to leverage its wireless networks.

Stephen Howe, Bell’s Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement, “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. We invite developers and partners to join us as we open the doors to new and exciting innovations in IoT.”

Bell says their LTE-M network will also help the Bell MTS Innovations in Agriculture program at the University of Manitoba, where students will get to develop innovative IoT technologies towards food science and agriculture.

Earlier this month, Bell Canada was hacked, which saw 1.9 million emails, along with 1700 names and active numbers get leaked to the web.