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Sequans Launches Low-Cost NB-IoT Chip

The chip is to have general availability in mid-2020.

October 18, 2019

3 Min Read

PARIS -- Sequans Communications has introduced the first module based on its second-generation Monarch N chip that is optimized for low-cost/low-power NB-IoT operation. The Monarch NB02S is a highly integrated module that sets a new standard for low-cost NB-IoT modules. It features an EAL5+ Secure Element that enables the integration of the SIM inside the module, thereby introducing Module-as-a-SIM™ capability. Based on Sequans’ long and proven experience in 4G and 5G technologies, the NB02S is designed to drive mass adoption of 5G cellular IoT by reducing component count and complexity, therefore reducing BOM, PCB, and manufacturing costs to new low levels. Monarch NB02S features Sequans’ new S-series ultra-small package, using ultra-low-cost PCB. Monarch NB02S inherits first generation Monarch’s proven protocol stack that has been certified by leading operators worldwide, allowing for a seamless software migration from Sequans’ first generation NB01Q module.

With the Module-as-a-SIM capability of the Monarch NB02S, which supports all SIM types, data plans can be offered as part of a total module solution. Sequans is working with tier 1 partners to integrate connectivity in the NB02S for a one-stop-shop solution. The EAL5+ Secure Element (SE) in NB02S provides highest-level, government-grade security for connection and application.

"It cannot be overstated how important the new, cost-optimized Monarch NB02S will be in accelerating mass adoption of IoT," said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO, "In addition to its significant cost and power advantages, it is the first module of its kind in the industry with integrated SIM capability, enabling it to provide seamless and ubiquitous connectivity, while removing the complexity that comes with sourcing data plans and SIM cards. When linked with pre-paid connectivity, Monarch NB02S can be used like a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi module, with the added benefit of not needing a gateway. This powerful capability, along with Monarch's global band support, in a simplified, all-in-one, low-cost module, gives IoT device makers the ability to design once and deploy anywhere, quickly, easily, and---most important---cost-effectively."

Monarch NB02S is based on Sequans' second generation Monarch N NB-IoT chip that integrates baseband, RF transceiver and front-end, SE, application MCU, RAM and power management in a single chip and supports LTE Cat NB1/NB2. The ultra-low power consumption of NB02S is a function of Monarch N’s Dynamic Power Management and eco-Paging technologies that adapt sleep and active state power consumption according to use case, enabling 10-15 years of battery life for many use cases. Monarch NB02S is an ideal solution for a wide range of NB-IoT applications, including utility meters, industrial sensors, asset trackers, and numerous other applications for agriculture, smart city, and smart home.

"There is now an NB-IoT module that can support just about any NB-IoT application imaginable and make the business case viable," said Karam. "Because Sequans owns all of the technology needed to build this module---both chip and software---we can offer device makers the lowest total cost of ownership as well as the fastest time to market. We are pleased to introduce Monarch NB02S to the industry—it will be a game changer."

Monarch NB02S is expected to be sampling by the end of the year to select alpha customers with general availability planned for mid-year 2020. Reference designs, evaluation and starter kits will also be available.

Sequans Communications

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