Comcast ‘distracting’ big 4 U.S. wireless giants’ M2M efforts with LoRa, other disruptive iOT initiatives

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ABI projects there will be 300 million M2M connections in the U.S. by 2020.

Comcast threatens to disrupt the emerging machine-to-machine businesses of the four biggest U.S. wireless companies, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile US, a new report put out by ABI Research suggests. 

With these wireless carriers rushing to deploy the latest LTE technologies, new competition is emerging, ABI contends, noting the emergence of Comcast’s development of low-power, long-range network technology LoRa. 

"Comcast is building on the back of its two main network assets: backhaul infrastructure and successful Wi-Fi hotspot deployments. Comcast has reported its hotspot program has surpassed 16 million, and they are actively developing an M2M strategy," said Kevin McDermott, principal analyst at ABI Research, in a statement. 

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ABI, which projects there will be 300 million M2M connections in the U.S. by 2020, believes there are huge opportunities for wireless LTE purveyors in areas like connected cars.

Of the 82.65 million cellular-connected M2M devices that existed in the U.S. at the end of 2016, nearly 69% related to telematics and other transportation applications, the research company said.

LTE, which includes LTE Cat-M and Narrow-Band iOT, is expected to become the largest network standard for the U.S. iOT market, ABI said.

But there are other distractions to wireless carriers beyond the competitive threat from cable. Wireless carriers must also balance interest in private network opportunities, as well as the ongoing debate on the merits of licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

“Carrier grade support and service is essential for mission-critical enterprise applications," McDermott added. ”Some of the biggest opportunities and drivers for cellular operators are in telematics and asset tracking; coverage and low latency are the essential requirements for these fast-growing segments."