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AT&T to Launch NB-IoT Technology to Supplement LTE-M Network

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AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) has announced that it is on track to launch NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) in 2019. This technology will enhance customers’ network experience by complementing the existing LTE-M network in both the countries.

With the exponential growth of IoT technology, higher consumer demand for a broader range of IoT solutions is fast increasing. AT&T’s NB-IoT will be rolled out to meet this demand. It is expected to be deployed in early 2019 in the United States, while in Mexico it is likely to be launched by the end of the year.

What Does NarrowBand IoT Have to Offer?

NB-IoT and LTE-M are Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technologies that support substantial IoT deployments in licensed spectrum with carrier-grade security. Both these technologies are preferable to technologies that operate in unlicensed spectrum primarily because of better protection from interference. NB-IoT boasts a longer battery life, wider coverage and lower cost than conventional cellular LTE connectivity. It is ideal for meeting basic data requirements.

On the other hand, the existing LTE-M network offers more bandwidth for firmware and software updates, mobility and VoLTE services. Introducing both these technologies in dual-mode chipsets and modules will enable customers to support a wide range of applications. This will increase global LPWA adoption. NB-IoT is set to be rolled out through software upgrades at cell sites. It will operate within AT&T’s mobile 5G network, which is scheduled to be launched in certain areas of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, TX, by the end of this year.

Prospects of LPWA

Since AT&T launched its North American LTE-M network last year, it has seen tremendous prospects in LPWA. The company believes that the inclusion of NB-IoT in its portfolio will not only enhance its LPWA capabilities but also attract more investors in their 5G endeavors across the United States and Mexico.  Per the mobile wireless operators’ association — GSMA — 24 mobile operators have commercially launched 48 mobile IoT networks encompassing both NB-IoT and LTE-M worldwide, and predicts 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections by 2025. This makes AT&T well poised to compete in this market.

Price Performance

In the past three months, the stock has underperformed the industry with an average loss of 9.5% compared with the industry’s 1.8% decline. It now remains to be seen whether this new technology will be able to boost the stock.


Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

AT&T currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (CMTL - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI - Free Report) and Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. (UBNT - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Comtech has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 5%.

Motorola has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8%.

Ubiquiti has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 18.6%.

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