Upgrade to
LTE / LTE-M for IoT

Upgrade LTE / LTE-M for IoT


LTE and LTE-M networks provide so many advantages, it’s time to evaluate your existing devices

As customers across every industry adopt, deploy and depend on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, highly secure end-to-end connectivity is essential. It’s difficult to bring a one-size-fits-all IoT network approach to every business situation. With the introduction of LTE-M, in addition to 4G LTE and satellite, businesses now have the option to have their endpoints allocated to the network that best meets their requirements.

Why upgrade

Why upgrade

The AT&T 4G LTE network provides the quickest connection with the least latency compared to 2G and 3G networks. Built for IoT devices, LTE-M is a licensed low-power wide-area (LPWA) network that enhances indoor and subterranean coverage, as well as provides extended battery life, at lower costs for lower bandwidth requirements.

LTE / LTE-M Why Upgrade

What I need to know

What I need to know

AT&T supports innovative technology, including communications for a variety of connected devices, such as those found in cars, power meters, shipping containers, wind turbines, vending machines and more. We can provide assistance, information, and resources for businesses on their journey to adopt more advanced 4G LTE and LTE-M networks.

What I need to know

How do I start

How do I start

Customers deploying network technology need to plan for network evolutions and the hardware upgrades that support these changes. For this reason, we counsel our customers to make the decisions that best fit their long-term plans within the scope of the evolution of the network.

How do I start



AT&T’s 4G LTE and LTE-M networks are more advanced and offer advantages and greater capabilities. The AT&T LTE networks provide the quickest connection with the least latency compared to 2G and 3G networks. LTE-M technology is built for IoT devices with clear advantages over traditional LTE including lower device costs, longer battery life better coverage for IoT devices underground and deep inside buildings and smaller module size. It’s also a licensed low-power wide-area (LPWA) network with carrier-grade security.

LTE technologies

We’re delivering 4G LTE over 700 MHz spectrum in our markets, with a limited number of markets using 2100 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz.

The potential benefits of 4G LTE in comparison to 3G or HSPA+ are:

  • Faster speeds. LTE technology is capable of delivering speeds faster than many other current commercially deployed mobile Internet technologies.
  • Faster response time. LTE technology offers lower latency, which is the processing time it takes to move data through a network. Lower latency helps to improve services like two-way video calling and telemedicine.
  • More efficient use of spectrum. Wireless spectrum is a finite resource, and LTE uses spectrum more efficiently than other technologies, creating more space to carry data traffic and services and to deliver a better network experience.

LTE build-out coverage

We anticipate coverage will be comparable to the coverage they received from our 3G network. The overall AT&T network covers more than 99% of Americans and our 4G LTE network currently covers more than 400 million people and businesses in North America.

4G LTE coverage was at 99% of 3G Coverage at 12/31/2017 and is expected to be at 99.5% by 7/01/2018. Both 4G LTE and LTE-M coverage are expected to exceed 3G coverage by the end of 2018.

Visit for coverage maps. For Mexico, you can access:

LTE speed

We expect that in most markets our 4G LTE download speeds will range from 5-12 Mbps, with significantly higher average speeds in many markets, and upload speeds in the 2-5 Mbps range.


Customers can use existing reporting tools to identify the technology type of specific devices. If further assistance is required, customers’ AT&T account team can be a valuable resource.

AT&T is committed to providing information to our customers to help manage their upgrade to 4G LTE and LTE-M. Ultimately, customers are responsible for planning their own hardware upgrades. AT&T has developed programs, such as our IoT Accelerator Program, to promote adoption of newer 4G LTE technologies

For additional information and resources, please access the following websites:


IoT devices:

IoT Accelerator Program:

Customers deploying network technology need to plan for it and the hardware upgrades that support these changes. Customers are responsible for planning their own hardware upgrades. We counsel our customers to make the decisions that best fit their long-term plans within the scope of an evolving network. AT&T has developed initiatives, such as our IoT Accelerator program, to promote adoption of newer 4G LTE and LTE-M technologies. Learn more

No, to help ensure the success of the migration effort and to improve network performance, it’s critical that devices are disposed of properly and not reappear on our network. Customers may research and choose an external vendor such as e-Cycle, CelTek Wireless, or WeRecycle (as long as they do not refurbish devices for local use).

LPWA stands for Low-Power Wide-Area and refers to networks that play an important role in serving the IoT market because of lower cost module hardware, reduced service costs, smaller form factors, improved battery life, and coverage enhancements. LPWA networks use less power consumption and cover a wide geographic area. The networks can be delivered over licensed dedicated spectrum using 3GPP standards or via unlicensed spectrum using open or proprietary standards.

LTE-M is a licensed LPWA network that is a 3GPP standards-based technology evolution of LTE specifically built for IoT devices. LTE-M offers greater indoor penetration, subterranean coverage and extended device battery life at lower costs while leveraging the existing AT&T LTE RAN infrastructure and existing licensed spectrum. LTE-M is also known as LTE CAT-M, CAT-M, or CAT-M1.

All LPWA technologies can offer long battery life, coverage benefits, and lower costs. However with LTE-M being an evolution of LTE, it offers many advantages over unlicensed technology vendors. They include:

  • Carrier-grade security: LTE-M has the advantage of SIM security and is managed to avoid interference from other wireless networks and devices.
  • Scalability: LTE-M has nationwide coverage at launch, unlicensed vendors have to deploy market by market, building new network infrastructure
  • FOTA/SOTA: LTE-M has the bandwidth to allow for over-the-air updates of a module firmware or applications on the device

LTE-M could be used for a number of use cases across several industries. Long battery life is ideal for devices expected to be in use for a long time. Better coverage helps devices that are behind thick walls, deep in basements, or subterranean. Lower cost of modules helps enable large deployments of devices. Licensed spectrum and SIM cards help provide carrier-grade security. Mobility allows for cell tower handoff. Additionally, LTE-M’s higher data bandwidth allows it the ability to support FOTA/SOTA which is extremely important when enterprises are introducing new technology and solutions for the very first time.

Metering (smart cities), smart buildings, asset tracking, asset monitoring, retail, healthcare, wearables, home appliances, and agriculture are all use cases that can benefit from LTE-M.

In the US, the nationwide launch was on 5/18/2017 covering over 300M POPs. We deployed LTE-M in Mexico in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Modules will initially be much lower cost compared to other cellular options lowering the initial cost of deployment. From a service standpoint, new yearly plans were introduced at discounted rates. Contact your account manager for detailed pricing.

AT&T IoT Accelerator program offers LTE-M modules as low as $7.50 each including SIM card and applicable essential intellectual property rights (eIPR).

We’re working with several manufacturers on certification as part of the IoT Accelerator program and have several certified with more coming. Please visit for the most recent list.

The existing IoT Start Kit supports LTE-M with a firmware update. A new LTE-M IoT Starter Kit that supports LTE-M out of the box is under development. Please visit for more information and to order IoT Starter Kits.

LTE-M runs at half duplex mode with data throughout peaking at 375kbps.

AT&T LTE Bands 2, 4, and 12; 1.4MHz Channel

Due to the licensed nature of LTE-M, a global LTE-M deployment requires roaming agreements. However, a global group of leading established network vendors are supporting the GSMA standard, including AT&T, Verizon, Orange, Telefonica, Bell Canada, Telstra, KPN, NTT DoCoMo, and other leading global MNOs.

In addition, we have a global strategy at AT&T and can help put together a global solution for your devices.

LTE-M will be on available on both 310-410 and 310-170 IMSIs and can be utilized in both EOD and Control Center for applicable SIMs.

Voice over LTE (LoLTE)

Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) technology is an all-Internet Protocol (IP) technology that supports voice calls over an LTE network. LTE uses IP packets for all communications.

If voice is required for LTE, customers must ensure they have a VoLTE-capable device with firmware that supports VoLTE, a UICC-G SIM, a VoLTE rate plan and appropriate AT&T IoT review and approval. Customers should contact their Account Team who can provide specific details on what needs to be done to help ensure a smooth transition from 3G to LTE if voice service is required.

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