"The modules are dirt cheap," Stofega said. "There's an order of magnitude once you start to go up" to 3G or 4G technologies, he said.
GSM components for M2M, which have been produced in the highest volume because GSM is more widely used than CDMA around the world, typically cost less than $20, Sprint's Mosburg said. CDMA parts are in the low-to-mid $20 range and have certain advantages over GSM in security and other areas, he said.
By contrast, 3G parts cost $35-$45 and those equipped for LTE may cost $100 or more, Mosburg said. In addition, service on the faster networks would cost more each month for the life of the M2M deployment, he said.
To keep these savings in perspective for enterprises, the process of going out to each site with M2M gear and swapping it out would incur a massive cost that would probably dwarf most other factors, IDC's Stofega said. Some enterprises at that point might choose 3G equipment to future-proof their investment, he said.
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