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LTE Cat 1: Its Importance & Position in 4G/5G Cellular IoT

Advancing technology and innovations in the realm of 4G/5G cellular IoT pave the way for LTE Cat 1 technology.

Telecommunications standards are in constant evolution, reflecting advancing technology and innovations in the realm of 4G/5G cellular IoT. Over the coming decade, LTE Cat 1 technology will become the de facto replacement for fading 3G, and many existing 3G applications will have to migrate to modern technology.

Today we see connected objects everywhere around us. We have come to expect the ability to instantly access information anytime and anywhere, in real-time, where and when we need it. For example, we depend on remote access to information that makes our lives easier in our homes and businesses, or when faced with bigger challenges, such as the management of a natural disaster, a power grid failure, or trying to contain a pandemic like Covid-19. To overcome these wide-area challenges, and to provide anytime/anywhere connectivity, ubiquitous cellular coverage is required, and to be effective, it must consume very little power and be available at a low cost. 2G and 3G cellular brought ubiquitous coverage at a reasonable price, but not the low power.

Then, 4G LTE (long-term evolution) appeared on the scene and while it was originally designed to serve the ever-increasing high throughput needs of smartphones, it also evolved to address the needs of connected objects through the introduction of UE (user equipment) categories LTE Cat M (or LTE-M), and NB-IoT, part of Release 13 introduced by 3GPP in 2016. These new narrowband categories were defined for low power consumption for battery-powered objects, and for low data rates to lower system costs and spur widespread adoption of IoT. LTE-M and NB-IoT fulfilled these promises but required new networks to be built. LTE Cat 1, however, as defined in the original 4G Release 8, can operate on all legacy LTE infrastructure, giving it a unique place in the world of IoT connectivity.

Today, all leading cellular network operators are in the process of shutting down their existing 2G and 3G networks and are re-farming the spectrum to use it for the more efficient 4G/5G cellular networks. While LTE-M and NB-IoT were defined specifically for low power, low data rate IoT use cases, legacy LTE Cat 1 can support a wider range of IoT use cases, including those with throughput requirements higher than what can be supported by LTE-M or NB-IoT. LTE Cat 1, therefore, complements LTE-M and NB-IoT and has a valuable role to play in cellular IoT in the coming decade and beyond, because it is cost-effective and will not be replaced by 5G until such time as 5G New Radio is able to meet the LTE Cat 1 price point, not expected until around 2030.

In this White Paper, learn more about the Sequans chip and module solution that combines technologies to help ease the market transition to dual-mode 4G/5G cellular solutions.

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Sequans Communications S.A. (NYSE: SQNS) is a leading developer and supplier of cellular IoT connectivity solutions, providing chips and modules for 5G/4G massive and broadband IoT.
Sequans Communications S.A. (NYSE: SQNS) is a leading developer and supplier of cellular IoT connectivity solutions, providing chips and modules for 5G/4G massive and broadband IoT.