LTE-M and NB-IoT support


This just over the transom today …

Lower cost modules, lower cost service plans, lower power operation.

What say Particle?


I didn’t find any mention of the Module Cost.

But I did notice the $20,000 minimum per year, in the fine print…


Hey folks!

We are excited about LTE (both M1 and NB1), and the cellular module we’ve chosen to support LTE is compatible with both! T-Mobile is the clear choice for NB1 support in the US, since Verizon and AT&T are leading with LTE M1. As always, the availability of pricing and marketing materials from carriers in the industry far outpaces actual availability (2nd half of 2018 is the loose guidance we’ve been provided), but we’re on top of it and will provide a path for NB1 development once the market materializes further.


@will From your point of view what are the key benefits to this new LTE (both M1 and NB1) platform over the current GSM networks the Electron is using? Better cellular coverage? Lower Power Consumption?


OK thanks. I’ll look for the Particle offering when available, I noted Hologram has already moved on LTE-Cat-M1, but apparently not yet for NB-IoT.


The key benefits are basically three things:

  1. Long term support. 2G and 3G networks will likely be sunset in most countries that plan to support LTE M1 and NB1 by 2020 or so. LTE M1 and NB1 will be around for 10+ years, so as a product creator you can be sure that the supporting infrastructure for your product will not disappear.

  2. Cost. LTE M1 and NB1 modules are approximately the same as 2G modules, and are significantly cheaper than 3G and LTE CAT1/4/6 modules.

  3. Power consumption. LTE M1 consumes less power than previous cellular technologies (125mA max power) vs. 3G (700mA) and 2G (2A bursts), which allows you to have products that can last much longer on batteries or for mobile applications.

  4. RF Penetration. Software support for this feature is not going to be generally available in the early years of LTE M1, but there is support in the spec for improved RF penetration over existing LTE for applications in places like basements and parking garages where cellular signal is typically poor.

Hope that helps to answer some of the value props of LTE M1!


That’s a great breakdown with a lot of info that is new to me!

The future looks exciting for Particle and IoT!


For those interested, there is a deck that I put together about LTE M1 and NB1 on Slideshare that may be helpful in learning more about those technologies.

Note that the information is now about ~6 months old (which is a good amount of time in the world of new technologies) but still directionally and conceptually correct.


Question Will. For which tech are the estimates on Slide 34? M1 or NB1?


That was an illustrative example based on the estimate in the Sequans announcement on the previous slide, which was about LTE M1.

My point in that slide was to illustrate that marketing speak is highly optimistic to the point of unrealistic, and that an advertised 10-15 year battery life may be far from possible given the realities of most mobile products in the field.


Agreed and understood. My company is deep into an eval of all the LPWAN techs. We have a pretty good fix on LoRaWAN, still working the licensed options. Cheers


Will Particle’s LTE development board be pin-for-pin compatible with the Electron? In other words, will upgrading from 3G to LTE be as simple as swapping boards?