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Summary:

Verizon must believe in the Internet of Things because it has pre-certified LTE chips from Altair Semiconductor. The action means that companies can build sensors and devices containing Altair’s chip and then avoid the lengthy testing process in order to get their gadgets on Verizon’s network.

Verizon LTE coverage feature

Verizon Wireless has certified an LTE chip from Altair Semiconductor on its network, the first time the nation’s largest wireless carrier has certified a chip vendor as opposed to a device. Altair makes a radio for LTE networks, and with the certification, it can now sell its chip to hardware makers and promise them those devices will work on the Verizon network.

This helps those companies trying to build products that might need cellular connectivity, but who don’t want to spend a lot of time and money getting their device certified. For example, I wrote last week about SmartThings, a company trying to build a network of connected sensors that can be controlled with an app. The company wasn’t sure if it could embed cellular connectivity into its sensors and so couldn’t promise that feature. One reason it may have been loath to promise that functionality is because the certification process for getting a device approved on a carrier network can take a while and cost more than a startup might have.

But now, SmartThings could theoretically order pre-certified chips and pop them into its sensors without having to jump through testing hoops. That’s one less hurdle Big Red puts in place for hardware guys that want to run on its network, and one more indication that Verizon is hoping the Internet of Things is good for its business. For more on the topic come to our Mobilize 2012 conference this month where Verizon’s Ann Shaub will discuss connecting devices around the home.

  1. Stacey,

    Unfortunately its not so easy, using “pre-certified” modules helps the certification process, but it by no means makes it easy or cheap. In-fact, companies still must spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to certify devices that use pre-certified modules. Additionally, very few carriers accept the industry standard certification (PTCRB) and insist on their own additional layers of certification making the process of creating new products that can work across many carriers and networks extremely time consuming.

    The certification process for cellular devices is a joke and is one of the main impediments to the success and growth of the IoT/M2M industry. We work with a vendor who use a pre-certified module in their newest M2M gateway, and since starting the certification process in the fall of 2011 we can only use the device on a single carrier.

    I hope this helps any readers out there who think think pre-certified modules make the process simple and quick!

    Still good news that we’re getting other players on the market besides the usual companies that are in the module business.

    — Jim Wert
    VP Engineering, M2M
    ILS Technology
    jwert@ilstechnology.com

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    1. Totally agree with Jim’s comments. For M2M to take off at the levels everyone is talking about it has to be as easy as connecting to a WiFi AP.
      My question;, is this a true shift in the approach Verizon has to approvals? or as per Jim’s comment no real change. Would be good for someone to look deeper into this as it has huge implications.
      Manny Romero
      BDM, Industrial M2M NetCommWireless
      manny.romero@netcommwireless.com

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