On Tuesday at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, the M2M Zone spoke with Jürgen Hase, vice president of Deutsche Telekom’s M2M competence center, who said that the move from 2G to 3G in M2M will not take place in the next six months or a year, but will depend primarily on the M2M device capabilities.
His opinion comes at an interesting time, as AT&T (Dallas, Texas, USA) recently made major hints that it will be shutting down its 2G network in the near future by encouraging 2G phone users to upgrade to 3G.
“We will be offering 2G for at least the next year because we believe it depends on the device,” says Hase about T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany). Deutsche Telekom just recently lost a $39 million bid to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T, which left many believing it would try to sell the U.S. arm off to another company. But last month, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive said that it plans to invest money into T-Mobile USA, which affirmed that it will not exiting the U.S. market.
T-Mobile USA committing to 2G for at least another year makes sense to most, especially considering that more than 90% of M2M devices generate less than five megabytes of data per month. Generating such a low amount of data only requires 2G technology, which according to Hase shows that 2G is more than enough for now. Not only is 2G competent to handle the data usage, but it is also much cheaper than 3G or 4G services, which Hase believes is a major factor for consumers.
Hase also pointed out that T-Mobile USA works closely with RACO Wireless, a company that has repeatedly expressed its commitment to 2G in M2M.
Despite T-Mobile still offerings 2G services in M2M, the company is also working on LTE services, specifically for the connected vehicle. At CeBIT, T-Mobile was showcasing a BMW connected vehicle, which included the e-call system, telematics and entertainment technology.
As for verticals in the M2M sector, Hase believes there are short, medium and long term potentials depending on the vertical. According to Hase, the telematics industry has the greatest short term potential, while the utilities sector, such as smart grids, has a midterm potential.
The reasoning for a midterm potential has to do with the slow rollout of smart meters, as well as the lack of connections in the world today. Currently there are only two billion people connected and in two years it is predicted to become four million, but Hase doubts the predictions, saying that in order for that to happen there needs to be someone willing to pay for it.
Hase sees telehealth as the vertical with the most long-term potential. Currently, telehealth standards and regulations vary from country to country, and it will take collaboration with the regulation bodies to make telehealth a more lucrative M2M market.
Hase also stated that T-Mobile is seeing an increasing success in small and medium businesses (SMB), as well as residential M2M.
T-Mobile is currently involved in nine M2M segments and will be showcasing some of its services at CeBIT this week.