T-Mobile will provide wireless connections for a new service from communications startup Twilio aimed at the growing Internet of things, or IoT, an emerging market of connected devices including everything from smart sensors to self-driving cars.
Under Twilio’s new effort, developers will be able to tap the company for wireless voice, text or data service that can be embedded into Internet-connected devices or sensors. A connected drone or water meter could use Twilio’s service to send information over T-Mobile’s wireless network back to a customer’s data center, for example.
Most consumer-oriented connected devices currently rely on home Wi-Fi networks for connectivity, which is cheaper and simpler than connecting via a cellular network. Twilio’s service aims to make the cellular connection simpler and cheaper.
Prices will start at $2 monthly per connected SIM card, Twilio said in a press release. Data usage across a pool of devices starts at 10 cents per megabyte. For services requiring higher capacity bandwidth, data is $25 for an initial one gigabyte and $15 for additional gigabytes.
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“Modernizing communications and moving it into the realm of software has been Twilio’s mission from day one,” Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson said in the release. “With enterprises needing to manage mobility more than ever before and the unrealized promise of IoT, there’s never been a better time to lift the barriers on cellular communications.”
T-Mobile (TMUS) chief operating officer Mike Sievert said the partnership was another extension of the company’s “un-carrier” strategy that rejects the wireless industry’s common approaches. “By partnering with Twilio to deliver these capabilities to Twilio’s vast developer network, we support developers in building the cellular-connected solutions of tomorrow,” he said in a statement.
T-Mobile’s larger competitors, Verizon Communications (VZ) and AT&T (T), are also taking aim at the Internet of things opportunity. The bigger players are aiming to establish their own similar services for developers as well as partnering with various tech companies like Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Ericsson (ERIC). Verizon says 4,000 developers have signed up for its ThingSpace platform.