On Friday, Verizon launched a new commercial 4G LTE Category M1 (Cat M1) network, aimed at making it easier and cheaper for businesses to launch IoT deployments. The network, announced via press release, will cover 2.4 million square miles and is the “industry’s first” of its kind.

For those unfamiliar, Cat M1 is a type of chipset often used in the kind of low-power sensors one would find in an IoT device. As noted in the release, they are used in everything from asset trackers to connected water meters.

For users who want to begin investing in IoT, Verizon’s new Cat M1 network can provide scalability and coverage, as well as security features, the release said. The network, itself, is built on a “virtualized cloud environment,” allowing customers to more quickly deploy their IoT solutions. The release also noted that Verizon is using the network to provide more economical data plans.

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“As the natural shift from CDMA-based IoT solutions to the more robust and cloud-based LTE technology occurs, it’s important we stay ahead of that technology evolution for our customers so we can continue to provide them service on the best and most advanced wireless network,” Mike Haberman, network vice president at Verizon, said in the release. “Our commercial deployment of the nationwide LTE Cat M1 network does just that.”

The rate plans for the data associated with the new network will occur in multi-year increments and will start at $2 per month per device, the release said. Businesses or developers looking to connect in bulk will have additional bundling options as well.

“By launching this network with a fresh set of connectivity rate options, we’re not only continuing to lead the way for IoT, but we’re also enabling true scalability from millions to billions of IoT devices in a simple, secure manner and at a reduced cost to connect, all on America’s most reliable LTE network,” Mike Lanman, senior vice president of business products and IoT at Verizon, said in the release.

Certified chipsets and other hardware are currently available from Sequans, Telit, Qualcomm Technologies, Encore Networks, Link Labs, and NimbeLink, the release said. Additional partners in Verizon’s Cat M1 ecosystem include Sierra Wireless, Gemalto, Qualcomm Technologies, and Altair.

Additionally, the release also said that the new Cat M1 network will also integrate with Verizon’s ThingSpace Platform and ThingSpace Client.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. On Friday, Verizon launched its 4G LTE Category M1 (Cat M1) network, which could make it easier and cheaper for businesses to launch IoT initiatives.
  2. Data plans for the new network will start at $2 per month per device, with other bundling options available for bulk activations.
  3. Verizon has a host of partners working in the ecosystem and the network will integrate with the company’s ThingSpace Platform and ThingSpace Client.