First complete devices for IoT are already available in the market, for example but not limited to Deutsche Telekom’s Park and Joy, IoT Service Button or Low-Cost Tracker. This includes both existing LPWA hardware being adapted to NB-IoT as well as entirely new devices or modules.
An extract of the available hardware can be browsed here.
Currently almost all available NB-IoT modules support 3GPP Rel. 13 features, whereas some discrepancies in support of Rel. 14 features still exists, as these are only gradually being integrated by the module vendors.
At the launch of the first NB-IoT live networks (Q2/2017) radio modules were only available from early forerunners (U-blox, Quectel). Since then further vendors like Sequans, Gemalto, Telit, Sierra Wireless etc.have entered the NB-IoT market and increase the range of available products and also the competition.
At the beginning of our commercial launch in Q2/2017 first NB-IoT radio modules were more expensive than the industry target of $5. As expected, this was due to initial low lot sizes, i.e. engineering samples. But since then unit costs have strongly decreased due to much higher production quantities, especially due to the Chinese market, where NB-IoT applications are widely being used at large scale. At this point the industry target of $5 has been reached.
NB-IoT Chipset/Modem (baseband): NB-IoT protocol processing & frequency modulation.
NB-IoT Module: Contains the chipset/modem, Antenna Connection, UICC software support, external interfaces.
NB-IoT Device: ready to use including all relevant components for the respective use case e.g sensor, antenna, power supply, memory.
A device can also be a developer board, e.g. Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
Deutsche Telekom has certified the LTE-M GM01Q platform from Sequans, and there are no plans currently to certify the NB01Q (NB-IoT variant of the same platform). This affects all modules based off of that platform, including the pycom G01, gpy and fipy modules.