In April 2009 T-Mobile USA announced a partnership with smart metering technology vendor Echelon to deploy systems that pair T-Mobile USA’s cellular network (as well as a new embedded SIM) with Echelon’s powerline carrier-based NES smart meter system. This follows on the heels of AT&T’s March 2009 announcement of a deal with smart metering technology vendor SmartSynch to embed an AT&T cellular connection into each individually deployed Smart Synch smart meter. (It’s important to note that Verizon Wireless and Sprint also have burgeoning smart metering activities.) Such direct and active participation in the market has not always characterized the wireless carriers’ strategic positioning in the M2M space, however. This Insight examines the challenges wireless carriers have faced in the M2M market to date and what these smart metering announcements say about the solutions that carriers are developing to engage the market more fully.
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