M2M hardware specialist u-blox has launched a new module that works on GSM and GPRS networks and is designed for use in devices operating in potentially explosive environments, such as gas smart meters.
The so-called SARA G350 ATEX provides support for a range of M2M applications requiring dual or quad-band GSM/GPRS, voice and data and in-band modem support for eCall and ERA GLOSNASS vehicle emergency call applications.
“Our SARA-G350 ATEX extends our feature-scalable SARA 2G module series to address devices that must operate in potentially explosive environments such as residential and industrial gas meters, fuel storage facilities, chemical plants and oil platforms”, said Thomas Nigg, the vice president of product marketing at u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland).
The module adheres to EU and international safety regulations for electrical equipment used in explosive atmospheres, notes u-blox.
Based in Switzerland, u-blox was thrown into the M2M limelight in April this year after striking a deal with Sprint to supply CDMA-based 2G modems for use with M2M services.
The deal was widely interpreted as a precursor to a Sprint attack on the M2M businesses of AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Sprint’s bigger rivals, which have both announced plans to shut down their 2G networks over the next few years.
Sprint appears to be gambling on continued interest in 2G networks among M2M customers, driven by the lower cost of 2G equipment.
The new GSM/GPRS module unveiled by u-blox also falls into this category and would particularly suit M2M applications that require little bandwidth and generate low average revenue per user.