Utility companies could have a role to play in the wireless industry's move to 5G networks, according to one analyst firm.
The smart grid promises to help create a more efficient, cleaner world with more agile networks that suffer fewer power outages and shorter restoration times. And mobile will play an increasingly larger role, from providing basic cellular connectivity to proprietary networks designed specifically for the IoT to wireless sensors that can glean staggering amounts of data.
AT&T plans to offer smart grid services in the unpaired WCS C and D Blocks it once hoped to use for in-flight Wi-Fi services, but it's asking the FCC for more time to do so.
Wireless carriers see smart meters and smart grids more broadly as a new revenue opportunity in the Internet of Things. Part of that expected growth relies on consumers installing residential smart meters at their homes. Yet many consumers are still confused on what the devices do, while others may not be able to harness its full potential because of various access barriers. Special report
Service providers may be aggressively expanding their coverage, but that expansion comes with a price: an increase in electricity costs and consumption.
Ericsson said it has begun its first trials of its Zero Site solution in Spain, with an installation in the city of Santander.
Verizon is jumping into the smart utility market with the launch of a platform that it is marketing to energy utilities with an "as-a-service" model that will help them modernize their infrastructure.
The city of Santa Clara, Calif., has achieved a municipal Wi-Fi hit, as the free public Wi-Fi service riding on smart grid technology installed by the city's municipal electric utility is regularly exceeding 6,000 active users during peak periods.
The network still matters in M2M and depending on the vertical segment and specific use case, will matter more so than in others. To the extent a mobile operator can coalesce the right ecosystem partners and provide clearly differentiated network-based capabilities that strengthen an M2M application, it will be in a stronger position vis-à-vis pure play OTT players.
AT&T Mobility is getting further into the energy monitoring business through a partnership with PayGo, an integrated utility payments provider, that will let consumers pay their energy bill through prepaid applications or on the go.