I’d normally view LoRaWAN and LTE IoT standards such as NB-IoT or LTE Cat-M (aka LTE-M or eMTC) as competitors, but The Things Industries and Deutsche Telekom partnered to launch an IoT gateway with both LTE-M and LoRaWAN capabilities together with associated services.
We do not have much information about the hardware, but it is a LoRaWAN gateway designed by MikroTik that connects to an LTE-M backhaul and to The Things Industries’ device and data platform. If the picture above does indeed represent the actual gateway it should also be equipped with two PoE capable Ethernet ports, and an RS485 terminal block, plus a USB port and a SIM card slot.
The solution would mostly be used for smart buildings at first taking advantage of the superior signal penetration of LTE-M. Sensors would send data to the LoRaWAN gateway which then, would forward it to the cloud over LTE-M.
This type of solution could also be achieved through traditional LTE cellular connectivity, but LTE-M reduces costs because of more affordable hardware and lower usage costs. Deniss Truhanovs, Head of Innovation at Mikrotik, says the LoRaWAN to LTE-M IoT gateway will sell for $209 (list price), and optionally supports LoRa 2.4GHz with even lower pricing for global deployments.
The solution will first become available in Germany and the Netherlands with an Early Access offer soon to be launched with LTE-M backhaul for solution providers and system integrators. You can register your interest here.