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April 24, 2009

Echelon, T-Mobile USA form alliance to offer smart grid network

Aim is to reduce communications cost of smart meters through deployment of Echelon's Networked Energy Services (NES)

By CBR Staff Writer

Echelon and T-Mobile USA have announced an alliance to speed up the adoption of the smart grid in the North American market by reducing the communications cost of smart meters through the deployment of Echelon’s networked energy services system over T-Mobile’s GSM cellular network.

As part of the agreement, Echelon will utilize an embedded T-Mobile SIM within a cellular radio module to enable all the Echelon smart meters on a given low voltage transformer to communicate back to the utility over the smart grid, and T-Mobile will offer users of Echelon’s networked energy services (NES) system new and cost-effective pricing plans for data usage.

Jim Andrus, Echelon vice president of NES sales Americas, said: We believe the initiative we have announced today with T-Mobile should fundamentally change the way utilities in North America think about deploying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems.

In contrast, aggressive pricing plans have made the use of the public cellular networks as the backhaul of smart grid systems the norm in Europe. We believe the programs we have put in place with T-Mobile can have the same impact on the North American market.

The NES advanced metering infrastructure from Echelon consists of a family of highly integrated, advanced electronic electricity meters accessed via a Web services based network operating system over an IP networking infrastructure. AMI system focused on billing related services and the NES system enables the backbone of the smart grid, providing utilities with a wealth of information about the status, operation and health of the grid that enables them to reduce operating costs while increasing service quality.

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