Partnership with Viaero? Rural CO, NE, KS

Not sure if this is the right category…

I was hoping the 4G LTE Borons would help with my connectivity for my remote weather stations. Alas I seem to get less coverage than with the Electron.

I’m deploying a bunch of devices in Rural Colorado where the best provider is Viaero. It doesn’t seem like Particle has an agreement with Viaero as I can be 100 ft away from a tower and get no connectivity. Any chance of a future partnership? T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon all seem to be taking their sweet time upgrading towers in the area as well. I only get get connectivity with my boron along I-76 and I-70 so far. A few miles off the interstates and my Borons go back to blinking green.

On a related topic, does anyone have a good way of figuring out with T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon where they have actually upgraded to CAT-M1/NB-1? I try calling customer service which is, as one would guess, a waste of time.

Thanks for any help!

The Boron LTE can only use AT&T Cat M1 in the United States using the built-in MFF2 embedded Particle SIM card. AT&T Cat M1 should be available in all areas where AT&T has LTE (normal LTE, for phones) coverage where roaming is not required. It won’t work in 3G or 4G only areas, and won’t work in roaming areas.

You may be able to use other carriers with a 3rd-party SIM card, however AT&T has the most coverage for M1 in the United States. Verizon is in 2nd place, and T-Mobile is way behind (and they’re planning on rolling out LTE Cat NB1). If you can obtain a Verizon Cat M1 SIM card it will most likely work in areas with coverage.

The Boron 2G/3G normally uses T-Mobile in the United States using the built-in embedded Particle SIM. However, in areas of Colorado where there is no T-Mobile coverage, Viaero is a backup carrier.

Boron 2G/3G can use Commnet Wireless, Alaskan Wireless Network (AWN), Cincinnati Bell, Immix, Manx NA, NewCore, Union Telephone Company, Viaero, Bug Tussel Wireless as backup carriers when T-Mobile is not available. It cannot use AT&T anywhere in the United States.

The Electron and E Series use AT&T or T-Mobile only, there is no support for other carriers in the United States using the Particle SIM card.


Sounds like a I am going to need a mix of devices. Electrons, Boron LTE and Boron 3G. Time to fire up the plastic :wink:

I may have to experiment with some AT&T 3rd party sims as the coverage for AT&T is 2nd behind Viaero according to the wisdom on the ground and around the combines. I’ve talked to Viaero and they don’t seem able to cater to a low data plan that is worth it. $20/mo was the best they could come up with. Verizon (my cell carrier) does not have great coverage and my co-workers with AT&T seem to get better service.

Actually, AT&T M2M SIMs won’t work. Well, they would work in the Boron LTE, but they’re not particularly helpful there.

AT&T is not allowing new activations for any 3G devices, so you can’t use an AT&T M2M SIM in a Boron 2G/3G.

You can still activate an Electron or E Series 3G because you’re not activating an AT&T SIM, you’re activating a permanent roaming MVNO SIM, which is still allowed to activate on the AT&T network using 3G.


Though now that I think about it, you can probably put a Particle SIM card in a Boron 2G/3G to get on AT&T. I should try that.

To check my understanding:

Boron 2G/3G can use Viaero 3G services

Boron 4G LTE only AT&T where LTE is available

Electron 3G AT&T and T-Mobile only

So a mix of Electrons, Boron 2G/3G, and Boron LTE devices would give me the most flexible coverage.

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Correct! It’s a bit confusing, and poorly documented.

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Another confusing thing is that Verizon uses 4G and LTE interchangeably. AT&T referred to HSPA+ as 4G, even though it’s really more 3.5G (a faster version of 3G). Since they already called something else 4G, LTE is completely different thing on AT&T. Only the AT&T LTE cell sites have support for LTE Cat M1, but every cell tower with LTE should have M1, as it’s basically just a software upgrade to their LTE cell sites.

And if I’m reading between the lines right Verizon and Particle are not friends skipping down the road hand in hand?

Prior to Verizon 4G LTE, a completely different CDMA radio was required to use Verizon so that was not practical.

There could be a Verizon LTE Cat M1 version. It just requires a different SIM card, so that’s much less of a problem than supporting a completely different chipset. Support is not imminent but I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility.

To clarify, The Boron 4G LTE is only AT&T where CAT-M1 LTE is available. Regular 4G LTE coverage does not imply CAT-M1 coverage as well. This is an important distinction to make.

I have been developing devices where a major test area is around Yuma County in Colorado. Much of that geographic area is covered by Viaero. In fact, Other major carriers simply don’t exist in most of the area. I have been in contact with a VP at Viaero that has given me a lot of info regarding their m2m contracts. The short version is that ATT doesn’t really like to work with smaller carriers and the m2m contracts are often not reciprocated the way we would all think they should be.
I have had much success with telephony/m2m services that utilize T-Mobile’s network over Viaero’s towers as Viaero has a solid m2m agreement with T-Mobile. For instance, using a Hologram SIM in a 3G electron will work well. You can also utilize a SIM card from KORE Wireless if you specify a T-Mobile SIM.
I have yet to have any luck with the E Series as they have an embedded SIM that uses KORE but only over ATT.