Many would be ~ five cents/month. AT&T new IoT pricing can deliver 3 megabytes to 300 devices for 8 cents/month each. This price is an order of magnitude cheaper than any telco IoT offering I know and beats most prices of LP WAN. Many IoT devices require very little data. Your blood pressure monitor or scale is likely to upload a few times a day or fewer. Your smart electric meter does not need to be sending continuously for most purposes.  Turning on your air conditioner or coffee maker when you're headed home requires only a few bits. Your baby monitor camera or Pandora in your car may require more, but there soon will be billions of devices that don't need to say very much.

Most telcos are looking for a dollar or more for each connected device. I think that will drive people to Wi-Fi instead, especially because the Wi-Fi chip is much cheaper than LTE chips. Telcos have high expectation for IoT, but nearly all is going Wi-Fi today.

AT&T is charging in with extraordinary pricing for projects that will have 50-1,000 nodes. $25 buys you 1 gigabyte, delivered to hundreds of locations, $60 covers 3 gigabytes,

The terms are generous; you have a year to use up what you buy. AT&T hasn't said what the prices will be as IoT nets get into the ten of thousands or even millions. This pricing may no longer hold.

A trash hauler could connect 500 dumpsters and see which are empty and which need a pickup. A doctor with 500 patients with high blood pressure could get reading twice a day, going directly to a computer program to track changes. Consider a sign at a bus stop showing when the bus will come and other messages. You could send 200 bytes every minute for a month for 25 cents. 

Consider a sign at a bus stop showing when the bus will come and other messages. You could send 200 bytes every minute for a month for 25 cents. By one measure, even these low prices are highly profitable. The actual cost of a marginal gigabyte to the carrier like AT&T is generally under $1, often far under. (EU model.) But the signaling and control overhead of a network so disbursed certainly adds cost.

"Everything" is going to be connected, soon. There are ninw separate technologies I'm following that are fighting for the market. Much of the U.S. will have four wireless telcos, two LP WAN, and maybe a low earth orbit satellite.  

AT&T intends to win more than its share.


AT&T Announces IoT Data Plans


MOBILITY / Dallas, Texas, 1 day ago

Dovelopers can now purchase data to get their connected solutions to market quickly



AT&T* is introducing data plans for developers and businesses to wirelessly connect their Internet of Things (IoT) projects. With these data plans, developers can purchase a bucket of prepaid data to power up to a thousand devices on the AT&T network. Available later this month, the IoT data plans give developers a flexible and fast way to deploy their devices and an entry point into deploying IoT solutions. As a customer’s connectivity needs grow, AT&T will work directly with the customer on different options.

AT&T has three IoT data plans for customers choose from: 

  • Option 1: 1 GB for $25.00 (valid up to 12 months)1; includes 500 SMS
  • Option 2: 3 GB for $60.00 (valid up to 12 months)2; includes 1000 SMS
  • Option 3: 5 GB for $100.00 (valid up to 24 months)3 includes 1500 SMS

“Making data plans available for developers and innovators lowers the barrier to entry. It lets smaller players, used to working at the speed of innovation, get their products off the ground and in the hands of customers quickly,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, IoT Solutions, AT&T. “After these initial plans are deployed, we help them scale their solution beyond a thousand SIMs and provide connectivity as they grow their business.”

In July 2016, AT&T started selling an all-in-one IoT Starter Kit to help developers jumpstart their IoT projects.  With LTE hardware, platforms, cloud storage and more in one place, the starter kit gives developers all the tools they need to build connectivity into their solutions.

The IoT Starter Kit is available from AT&T or Avnet for only $99 plus applicable taxes and fees beginning August 2016. For more information on our IoT tools for developers, visit

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

1 Data access expires when 1 GB is used or after 12 months, whichever comes first.

2 Data access expires when 3 GB is used or after 12 months, whichever comes first.

3 Data access expires when 5 GB is used or after 24 months, whichever comes first.


dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network. It will soon offer a gigabit or close to 30M homes. Thousands of sites are live in Korea; AT&T is going live with mobile, even lacking phones. The hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.


5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.