As one of the technology powerhouses, the United States has always held a monopoly position in advanced industries such as chips and semiconductors. According to statistics from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), U.S.-headquartered semiconductor companies now account for about half of the global semiconductor market. With such a high market position, the United States not only has many outstanding companies, but also has many tests and requirements for players who want to enter its market. In the communications industry, AT&T certification is one of the biggest challenges for non-U.S. products entering the U.S. market. According to statistics, AT&T’s share of the Internet of Things market in the United States is as high as 43%, while 99% of Fortune 1000 companies are using the Internet of Things services provided by AT&T.
As a leading module supplier in the world, SIMCom constantly develops new products suitable for the market in accordance with its pursuit of innovation and progress. While developing the domestic market, the company also keeps developing overseas markets. Naturally, it won't miss the U.S. market, which represents advanced, high-precision and sophisticated technologies. As early as in 2010, the SIM900 module of SIMCom earned AT&T certification, which was followed by its LTE CAT1 module, CAT4 module and CAT-M module. In April 2019, its intelligent module SIM8905A formally earned AT&T certification. As SIMCom’s first AT& T-certified intelligent module, SIM8905A provides an edge for the company to further develop the LTE M2M market in the United States.
As mentioned earlier, all M2M products entering the U.S. market are subject to product standard certification and carrier certification. Product standard certification programs includes PTCRB and FCC. The thresholds of carrier certification programs are relatively higher. Of all the carrier certification programs, AT& T certification is recognized as the most difficult. Both the rigor and cost of AT& T certification tests are the highest. The process of AT& T certification is very meticulous. Given its strict requirements for error rate, products must be bug-free to be certified. And it costs millions of dollars. For companies, it means a race against technology and time, and burning money. Surprisingly, with the unremitting efforts of SIMCom team, SIM8905A got certified by AT&T in only half a year.
Dr. Lu Dingwei from SIMCom Standards & Certification Department recalls that SIMCom began to prepare for certification in Oct. 2018 and started pretests in late Nov. 2018. The tests were conducted in three places respectively, i.e. a test center in Seattle, the United States, a test lab in India and the head office of SIMCom in Shanghai. It was like a relay race against time. SIMCom engineers relayed the tests in these three places around the clock. When it was nighttime in Shanghai, SIMCom engineers in the United States conducted DDA tests, grabbed log files and analyzed problems. When it was daytime in Shanghai, SIMCom engineers in Shanghai started debugging and solving problems with Qualcomm engineers. At the same time, DDR tests were conducted by SIMCom engineers in India, and problems were solved synchronously in Shanghai. The DM part of AT&T certification was like crossing the river by feeling the stones. It required communication and coordination, and there were some twists and turns in the process. The product had to pass the self-tests on the Nokia server first and then the tests on the AT&T server. SIMCom engineers in China connected their computers to their colleagues’ computers in the United States. All tests were conducted basically around the clock, and this efficient way of working bought valuable time. In the end, SIMCom earned AT&T certification ahead of schedule and saved 50% of certification costs.
SIM8905A is a multimode LTE intelligent module based on Qualcomm MSM8909. It’s characterized by a compact design, powerful processor, low power consumption and high throughput. At the same time, it’s highly integrated, with various interfaces and network connections, so customers can develop their own intelligent products in a favorable development environment. Thanks to its powerful computing power, this intelligent module can be used in many fields such as automobile, security and retail. For example, it can be used in smart POS, vehicle-mounted devices, intelligent medical devices and so on.