Cloud platform as a service (PaaS) provider Twilio has partnered with T-Mobile US in a deal that will see the former roll out a developers’ platform for T-Mobile’s Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network.
The partnership was announced at Twilio’s Signal 2019 customer and developers’ conference in San Francisco. It aims to create apps for NB-IoT that will draw less power, extend battery life, and save users money.
The platform comprises three parts. The first consists of narrowband SIMs to help IoT developers get up to speed with self-service onboarding. The SIMs come with no contracts and two-day shipping.
The second is Twilio’s Narrowband IoT Developer Kit. This includes an Arduino-based development board, Grove sensors (chosen for low-power, wide-area solutions), and the u-blog LTE Cat NB1 SARA-N410 hardware module, which has been certified for use with T-Mobile’s Narrowband IoT network.
The third component is Twilio’s Breakout software developer’s kit (SDK). This aims to decrease the complexity of hardware and improve the heterogeneity of different networks, allowing developers to focus on creating narrowband IoT device deployments.
The Breakout SDK handles tasks such as network registration and intelligently optimises communication between devices and cloud services – based on network capability requirements across protocols such as IP, Non-IP and SMS.
Twilio’s Narrowband Developer Platform will be available for beta access in early 2019, with prices starting at $2 a month for a developer plan, $10 a year (or $5 a year at scale) for the production annual plan, and $8 a year (or $4 a year at scale) for the production five-year plan.
“The introduction of T-Mobile’s Narrowband IoT network provides a tremendous opportunity for developers who are innovating and building new categories of devices that don’t exist today,” said Chetan Chaudhary, general manager and vice president of IoT at Twilio.
Tom Rebbeck, research director of Enterprise and IoT at research firm Analysys Mason, said that his company sees Twilio as part of a new wave of IoT connectivity providers that is disrupting the market by reducing friction for developers.
“We think its offer is especially well suited to the narrowband market, where operational costs need to be kept extremely low,” he said.