Narrowband IOT: What is it?
Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) standard using carrier's existing LTE infrastructure. It is designed to use cheap hardware (<$5), long battery life (~10yr), good indoor coverage and suited to low-bandwidth solutions. NB-IoT is meant for the smaller data payloads associated with asset tracking, fleet management, and sensors in smart buildings and smart cities. Since it is based on existing technology coverage is great in the US and globally.
What is Twilio's NB-IoT Offering?
Twilio's Narrowband offering is US only and provides accerss to T-Mobile's NB-IoT infrastructure. You can speculate that over-time assuming the demand is there, it will expand to more carriers and countries in the same way Twilio's other services aggregate carrier offerings.
While T-Mobile doesn't say this is a pilot. Twilio does. It could go away. But I doubt it. It is 100% awesome for prototyping but you should speak to Twilio and T-Mobile sales about a long-term contract before you commit to this as a solution. If you can get your hands on Twilio's Arduino based devkit, they're easy to get on the network with the included eSIM and you can use the assortment of sensors to start prototyping rapidly. Just another reason to go to Signal and see if they give them out again.
T-Mobile lists $6.99\month but Twilio only has that rate at volume usage levels (10K-100K devices) and $10\month. My assumption is that T-Mobile will only sell direct to large solutions and your DIY bird feeder will be referred to Twilio. As further proof of that, T-Mobile's developer page links directly to Twilio.
IoT with PHIXED
If you're trying to get your IoT project off the ground and you want to discuss connectivity or the backend services you need to put in place to service your solution reach out. We PHIX IoT !
Let's get together and discuss how PHIXED can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org