Telit’s New Prepaid Plans Complete a Suite of IoT Connectivity

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By Jamie Moss | 4Q 2021 | IN-6338

The Mobile Virtual Network Operator Telit has expanded their offerings to include Internet of Things connectivity in prepaid plans.

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NEWS


Telit has launched a range of prepaid Internet of Things (IoT) Connectivity plans. The plans will provide Telit’s IoT device Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers and the buyers of their products with 2G, 3G, and 4G coverage across a purported 600 mobile networks, in a total of 190 countries. There are currently two prepaid plans in Telit’s portfolio: 250 Megabytes (MB) with 250 Short Message Service (SMS) messages for five years, and 500 MB with 500 SMS for ten years. They can be purchased as standalone connectivity or in a bundle, preloaded onto a Telit LTE module. Access to the Telit IoT Connectivity Management Platform (CMP) is included for no extra charge, to allow customers to self-manage the lifecycle of their connections. The location of their cards and the balance remaining on them can be monitored, plus top-ups can be purchased whenever allowances are exhausted.

The new prepaid plans are made possible by the Telit NExT Network. Telit formally became a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) in 2020, and NExT is the name given to its cloud-based mobile Core Network (CN). Telit is known to be in possession of Mobile Network Code (MNC) 15, issued under Finish Mobile Country Code (MCC) 244, which was assigned to the company in September 2019. The code was originally licensed to the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Telit’s NExT Network was launched in May 2021 and expands the speed and flexibility with which the company – and its customers—can launch new tariff plans. It reduces Telit’s reliance on the carrier partners as it leases cellular capacity from to build its Virtual Radio Access Network (RAN), and gives Telit the global traffic switching ability to function as a full Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), not just a connectivity reseller/aggregator.

Targeting Consumer IoT

IMPACT


In Telit’s own words, its new prepaid plans are intended for use in “short lifecycle solutions”, and instances where a one-off payment for connectivity is preferable to “complex monthly invoicing”. Examples of possible device types were not explicitly suggested. But it is clear Telit’s intent is to target devices that will benefit from having the service of cellular connectivity embedded at the point of manufacture. They may be short-lived and so not require much connectivity, or only need to communicate infrequently. They may be devices that are necessarily inexpensive, potentially high volume, and for which arranging for connectivity to be applied after they have been installed would be an annoyance, likely uneconomical, and could hamper their uptake. Telit’s strategy is to use the new tariff plans to extend itself into new device markets to serve new types of OEMs, especially those that have so far favored unlicensed wide-area wireless communications – LoRaWAN, for example – instead of cellular.

This represents an opportunity for flexible connectivity to boost module sales for Telit, as customers may wish to purchase communications hardware and services from a single supplier, for the sake of convenience, simplicity, and to have only one bill to pay. It is also an opportunity for Telit to capitalize on the embedding of its services into any IoT device, regardless of what module vendor is chosen by the OEM, giving Telit two vectors from which to sell to potential customers. The company states that it would like to use its prepaid connectivity to enter the consumer IoT space, where it can facilitate the supply of equipment that is ready to work straight out of the box for the intended lifetime of the device. Consumer IoT devices frequently stall over the issue of why a private customer should bother to pay for additional tariff plans for each connected device they purchase. It is an active disincentive to purchase a product if it can’t be used it right away and if another party must be sourced to acquire a separate service first.

Providing Tight Integration

RECOMMENDATIONS


This is not Telit’s first foray into IoT connectivity and represents a broadening of its existing offering. The vendor already has its OneEdge cellular connectivity, which is embedded within selected module models and is ready to be activated on purchase of a subscription plan. There are two OneEdge subscription plans: Primo for US$1 per month per device and Lungo for US$20 per year per device. Using Telit’s simWISE integrated Subscriber Identification Module (iSIM) technology, OneEdge was designed for easy control of cost and consumption, and simply allows for the transmission of 1,000 messages per month. Each message is an IP-based transaction, from edge to cloud or vice-versa, and it is billing on these terms instead of by SMS or megabytes (MB) that allows OneEdge to be offered so cheaply. It is a conversation-starter that helps to attract customers looking to experiment with IoT connectivity as easily as possible.

Telit also already sells connectivity independently of its module hardware, in the form of customized contract data plans for traditional SMS, MBs of data, and voice services, for buyers that are more certain of what they need. The new prepaid tariffs fill the gap in utilization between Telit’s custom plans and OneEdge. Originally, OneEdge was only meant for use with Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) modules, but Telit realized it was useful regardless of the technology or scale of deployment. Nevertheless, its transaction-based nature is a fundamental limitation (albeit by design), a hang-over from its LPWA origins that these new prepaid plans solve. IoT connectivity is an area that other module vendors have naturally segued into, including Sierra Wireless with its acquisition of no less than five IoT connectivity of enterprise managed service providers, and u-blox with its acquisition of Thingstream.

Telit’s five- and ten-year prepaid plans give device OEMs and their customers a huge amount of time to make use of the connectivity embedded into their devices. A ten-year plan matches that of the longest prepaid term previously on offer, by IoT MVNO, 1NCE. The pure-play module hardware market is commoditizing for vendors, and the pure-play connectivity market is commoditizing for carriers. But combining the two still makes sense as it allows a unique tightness of integration between them, simplifying matters for the customer and improving performance. Following all the hardware integration and miniaturization that goes into modern modules, software features and service integration is the next logical step to transform their own business into an as-a-service proposition, just as Telit and its competitors have done for their own customers.

 

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