T-Mobile introduces its narrowband IoT asset tracking offering to provide on-demand visibility, impactful insights

T-Mobile announced Monday launch of its asset tracking business. T-Mobile for Business will sell the first asset tracking solution, Roambee BeeAware, on a Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network in the United States. This moment marks the next stage of development for the IoT market. 

T-Mobile and Roambee are joining forces to enable smarter operations powered by narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) to help deliver end-to-end supply chain visibility, business efficiencies, and risk mitigation.

High-value asset tracking is a perfect match for America’s first NB-IoT network. When a company deploys hundreds, if not thousands, of asset trackers, device and service costs can add up quickly. NB-IoT provides an efficient, cost-effective option for nationwide asset tracking. T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network provides significant telecom-grade security advantages over technologies that operate on unlicensed airwaves such as LoRAWAN, BLE and RFID, among others.

A single truckload of high-value goods may contain 100s of asset trackers and travel hundreds of miles. Battery-life is critical. NB-IoT utilizes a power saving mode, smaller data payloads, and typically longer reporting intervals all of which translate to lower power consumption. 

Roambee’s BeeAware is a cloud-enabled cellular wireless tracking solution that monitors and manages the location and condition of goods, assets, or equipment—all on T-Mobile’s nationwide NB-IoT network. It’s an ideal solution for keeping track of high-value assets in-field or in-transit.

“We’ve hit a sweet spot of value and security with Narrowband IoT that we think will really kickstart the growth of the asset tracking segment,” said Mike Katz, executive vice president of T-Mobile for Business. “This is great news for companies that need an asset tracking platform, but it also marks a new era for T-Mobile for Business. We’re combining the Un-carrier approach, the strength of our sales team and the reach of our nationwide network to deliver unique solutions. Much more to come!”  

No matter the size, all businesses need to know where their assets are—yet 77 percent of firms have limited to zero visibility into their supply chains. These businesses may only get shipping updates at key checkpoints along the way leaving long windows between stops for unforeseen delays that can affect delivery times, impact customer satisfaction, and increase operational costs.

Roambee’s BeeAware asset tracker attaches to shipments, pallets, or individual assets to provide item-level location and temperature monitoring indoors, in-transit and outdoors—leveraging T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network.

“We’re enabling mass market adoption of enterprise asset tracking!” said Sanjay Sharma, CEO of Roambee. “Powered by Roambee’s purposefully-built, capex-free sensor technology and asset tracking platform, this solution eliminates the four biggest barriers to enterprise IoT adoption: high cost, cumbersome setup, constant maintenance, and complex data security. Together with T-Mobile’s NB-IoT network and Roambee’s proven solutions that global companies have come to rely on, we’re here to make IoT asset tracking universally deployable on a large scale.”

These small data packets are what NB-IoT was made for. Unlike CAT-M, it operates in the shoulder-lane next to the dedicated LTE spectrum so that data doesn’t have to compete with other, larger network traffic. IoT devices on NB-IoT simply don’t need to operate on more intensive LTE networks, and so don’t require expensive batteries.

BeeAware data can be accessed with Roambee’s Honeycomb API to integrate with existing enterprise software to provide a desktop and mobile portal for end-to-end supply chain monitoring. It assists businesses and supply chain managers track high-value assets to prevent loss and build stronger chains of evidence; optimize shipping routes for faster delivery times and lower operational costs; address delays that could become costly in the future; and manage risk of theft and degradation of cold chain goods with near real-time status updates.

The T-Mobile BeeAware solution is available for $10 per device per month, which also includes portal access and NB-IoT data. It includes all necessary hardware, software, connectivity data, and reporting tools, with no expensive hardware to buy, complicated software to maintain, and costly data plans to purchase. 

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