Orange doubles down on LTE-M at MWC as Ericsson, AT&T complete trials

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The cellular IoT connectivity standard LTE-M is gaining traction at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017, with new announcements from a host of telcos.

Ericsson, AT&T and Qualcomm are trialling how VoLTE for IoT devices could be carried over existing network infrastructure through a software upgrade and a new modem device supporting LTE-M.

Qualcomm’s MDM9206 LTE modem was used with the Ericsson’s LTE Radio Access Network, IP Multimedia Subsystem, Evolved Packet Core and User Data Management network infrastructure and new software.

According to Ericsson, the demonstration shows that the technology is ready for commercial deployment.

Orange also announced at the conference that LTE-M would be deployed on its 4G networks in Europe.

The roll-out will begin in Belgium and Spain in 2017, with the rest of Orange’s European footprint set to follow.

Other LTE-M pilots will be launched this year, Orange said, including smart metering and wearables, in collaboration with Altair Semiconductor, Qualcomm and Sequans.

The France-based operator also said it would be launching an LTE-M IoT Open Lab in France in April.

MWC also saw AT&T, KPN, Telefónica, Telstra, TELUS and Verizon confirming their support for the global deployment of LTE-M.

Last week, Ericsson and Sierra Wireless announced that they had completed network and device testing for data communications on CAT-M1 (LTE-M).

Carried out over Telefónica's network in Spain, the transmission was achieved through the interoperability of Sierra Wireless’s modem and Ericsson’s Packet Core and Radio solutions.