With the Internet of Things on the tips of many tongues at Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco this week, T-Mobile has come out and said it plants to fire up the first nationwide Narrowband-IoT network by mid-2018.   

Next month, Las Vegas will become home to the Un-carrier’s first commercial NB-IoT network.

T-Mobile noted that NB-IoT uses minimal spectrum to transfer data more efficiently, and its longer battery life and enhanced connectivity will enable businesses and cities to connect large number of devices less expensively.

“Our IoT customers can rest well knowing their tech is future proof with the Un-Carrier,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray commented.

Back in July, T-Mobile was the first U.S. wireless carrier to successfully conduct tests of NB-IoT technology live on its commercial network, alongside Qualcomm and Ericsson.

The trial utilized only 200 KHz of the carrier’s AWS spectrum, T-Mobile reported. Qualcomm VP of Product Management Vieri Vanghi added the trials used that company’s global multi-mode LTE IoT modems.

“Narrowband-IoT is no longer a thing of the distant future - T-Mobile is lighting it up this year,” Ray commented. “By investing in Narrowban-IoT now, we’re ensuring our customers will be able to bring their products to market faster with better performance, vastly improved battery life, and big cost savings - all on a dedicated highway that’s purpose-built for connected devices.”

According to T-Mobile the network will also support the IoT standard Cat-M. 

Sierra Wireless, Telit, and u-blox developed NB-IoT modules that are being tested in T-Mobile’s labs, and should be on the market in early 2018, the Un-carrier said.

T-Mobile sees NB-IoT as providing developers “a flexible bridge” on the path to 5G. The operator said it will use part of its 600 MHz spectrum to deliver a 5G network nationwide by 2020, with early rollouts expected to being in 2019.

The company also announced the new addition of SnycUP FLEET, to its family of IoT offerings that debuted last year with T-Mobile’s connected car solution, SyncUP DRIVE.  

The new fleet management and monitoring system is intended to help businesses reduce fuel consumption, maintenance issues, and other costs.